[tabi] from today's Democrat

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2011 12:18:09 -0500

Get Ready for More StarMetro Changes

by TaMaryn Waters

     Democrat Staff Writer


Considerable changes to StarMetro's bus system are in the works and will
start Jan. 21.

Feedback from riders prompted the changes, which are the most drastic
since the new system launched in July. While some riders said they have
had pleasant experiences with the upgraded system, others have stopped
riding because of late buses and long transfer delays.

Changes will take place within StarMetro's existing $16-million budget.
They are slated for 11 week-day routes, six Saturday routes and four
night routes. Heather Teter, StarMetro's marketing specialist, said
buses will come more often and other routes will have slight time tweaks
once proposed changes are in effect.

In addition, five more areas of service - such as near Innovation Park,
the Macon Community and Capital Circle Southwest and Crawfordville
Highway - will be added.

During various public forums, some bus riders said transferring between
routes can be difficult, especially if buses are arriving late at a

"System-wide, we saw the need to make it easier to help customers make
their transfers by tweaking the system," Teter said.

The new system took away the need to transfer exclusively at the
downtown C.K. Steele Plaza and created more transfer points throughout
the city. Since the system's debut, StarMetro has been flooded with
praise and criticism by riders and city commissioners, some of whom have
stressed improvements take place quickly.

John Plescow, who is visually impaired, said he rode the bus in the old
system four times a week. He didn't have problems. But with the new
system, Plescow said he's had to wait more than 30 minutes to transfer

He abandoned the new system and began using the Dial-A-Ride service
instead. He said the new system continues to have too many problems.

"If you were waiting 10 or 15 minutes, that would be fine. If you are
waiting 30 minutes, that's ridiculous," Plescow said, adding "it's
unacceptable" for the system to still have major problems after six
months and 18 months of preparation before that.

He's not convinced the newest changes will make a difference. He hopes
they will. If not, Plescow will stick to using Dial-A-Ride and he knows
several riders who are planning to buy cars soon if the system doesn't

However, customers such as Tom Clark have no complaints.

Clark walks to work at the Koger Center on Apalachee Parkway and takes
the bus home to his neighborhood behind Miracle Plaza off Thomasville

He didn't have to transfer with the old system, but he does now. Clark
doesn't mind the transfers because it gives him a chance to run errands
while waiting.

Even though he understands some riders are frustrated, Clark said the
proposed changes are an attempt by StarMetro to address looming issues.

"It seems to me there's an effort to be responsive to meet the needs of
people better," Clark said. "They are just not going to meet everyone's
needs perfectly."





7:26 AM on December 20, 2011

"Since the system's debut, StarMetro has been flooded with praise and
criticism by riders and city commissioners" Wow! What a wildly
inaccurate statement! The city, and city commissioners, received
hundreds upon hundreds of complaints about the new system after
implementation. It would be fair to say that not all of the statements
about the new system were negative but to say the city was "flooded"
with praise is just another example of how the Democrat, or at least
this reporter, is not being objective. Please stop acting as a PR
machine for StarMetro and start reporting the story in an unbiased



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