Seniors, people with disabilities concerned about proposed StarMetro route changes
By TaMaryn Waters • Democrat Staff Writer • October 19, 2009Next year's plan for bus service is supposed to attract more riders and help those currently accustomed to the current system.
But not everyone is happy.During recent listening sessions, concerns came up regarding how residents with disabilities and senior citizens will be able to adapt to StarMetro’s
NOVA 2010 proposal.For example, there was concern about the elimination of bus service to Governor’s Square Mall. The new plan would put a stop on Governor’s Square
Boulevard, which could make traveling difficult for people with disabilities if they are not dropped off closer to the mall. “We have mixed feelings," said Dan Moore, director of programs for Ability First, a center for independent living across North Florida. He said the system may be ideal for people who don't have a tough time walking. But it may be a nightmare for those who walk with crutches or
walkers and those who use electric wheel chairs.NOVA 2010 plan, slated to launch next fall, is intended to reduce the need to transfer at the C.K. Steele Plaza, increase the number of buses coming to
a stop during peak hours and add routes on streets such at Magnolia Drive and Orange Avenue. But the trade off means other routes will be eliminated and some buses will no longer go through neighborhoods. Instead, the buses will meet at the
neighborhood entrance. That means some riders may have to walk up to a half a mile to get to a stop.
Here are 2 of many comments posted online in response to this article:1) Liberal, don't forget about the negotiated contracts StarMetro has with the universities to provide students FREE transit. Based on the contracted price, I think each student is riding free all day for approximately $.60 (thats the price for senior citizens). The universities even get their own fancier buses to serve the campuses. Now I am not saying students shouldn't ride free, and I know that the schools purchase these special buses themselves (and that's perfectly fine). I am, however, suggesting that StarMetro re-evaluate the cost they charge these universities. Their students aren't simply using the bus to get to and from school. They use them to go to the malls, to the grocery stores (Walmart, Target, etc). If money is an issue for StarMetro, start there. Students, after all, make up 60% of the ridership. The schools should have to pay more per student since the students aren't just staying on campus and going to school on these buses.
2) [in response to someone bitching about bus drivers not following traffic laws...] The only traffic law exemptions for mass transit are stopping on the street [for obvious reasons] and lane changes--a state law that you'll find on the back of most buses, accompanied by a big red yield triangle. Now, if you ask _my_ opinion, transit buses should be fitted with traffic signal pre-empters to switch signals to green as they approach them. It's time to start prioritizing transit and not making it something "just for poor people to barely scrape by", "just for students" or "OK to use that one day your car's in the shop".
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