This is quite a letter that took quite a while to read. The sentence that made the most sense to me said that the plan was made by people who don't ride the bus or that have other transit options. And this has been stated by many on TABI many times. These concerns have been stated before on this list. One hopes that a change will eventually happen making riding the bus a feasible option for those who must depend on it, but it seems to be taking forever.
Barbara----- Original Message ----- From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 5:13 PM Subject: [tabi] nova2010 and lack of nights/weekend service I've been asked to publish the letter below; it's from a citizen to Mr. Garrison at StarMetro, and details her thoughts on the Nova2010 plan and it's apparent lack of service for nights and weekends: Dear Mr. Garrison, One of the main selling points of the Nova2010 plan was increased service to riders on nights and weekends. In fact, according to the original information presented about Nova 2010, the night and weekend service was supposed to be very close to the service provided during the week only with slightly different hours. But this appears not to be the outcome. The Nova2010 plan won't provide the same service at night and on weekends as it does during the week. This is bait and switch of the worst sort. Now that the information about the actual Saturday, Sunday and night routes has been made public, it is obvious that a lack of service will occur. Even with the proposed routes now posted, there is still the lack of a timetable that enables riders to fully evaluate the routes. Since Nova2010 is making use of independent routes without timed transfers and only lists possible transfer points, discussion of the changes is even more important. Riders will no longer be able to depend on the fact that they can make their connecting routes on time. This can lengthen and not lower transit time if they miss the next available possible transfer point that they need. At the very least, a customer service phone should be available at all hours of operation to deal with route problems such as missed connections. There hasn't been adequate input from the public regarding change s to the night and weekend routes. At the very least, these proposed changes need to be presented to the public through listening sessions in order to both inform the public and obtain feedback. These sessions are called for to obtain input about the impact of these route changes on current riders. This has been done in the past even when minor changes were proposed . These listening sessions should occur before any vote is taken to approve this plan as written. The night and weekend routes weren't detailed at the earlier listening sessions so that feedback regarding these routes could be obtained and discussed. At the early listening sessions, the claim was that the night and weekend routes would be the same as weekday routes only the hours of service weren't known yet. Then at the later listening sessions, it was claimed that only some reduction in service would occur during the night and weekend routes. It was just said that the service would be somewhat less and not go to some of the places such as the offices at Southwood. For example, the Saturday route (Tall Timbers) would require minimum of two transfers to go closer to Governor's Square Mall than Magnoli a Drive. This currently requires one transfer at the Plaza for each trip. The travel time could be problematic because it makes the assumption that the transfer connections can be made in a timely manner. Since However, missing one bus connection could mean a wait at a stop of 30 minutes or more. Missing a second transfer connection could add an additional 20 to 40 minutes to the trip. A trip could easily take up to an hour more than currently. This plays havoc with a person who has to get to work on time and could cause them to lose their job. These changes will not in fact make transit travel easier for citizens to commute to work, shop and reach recreation destinations for those who must do so on weekends. Another problem with the Saturday schedule for people in the Jackson Bluff area would be reaching Tennessee Street in an efficient manner. Since no connection would exist between Appleyard and Tennessee, the proposed rout es would require two transfers to reach any location on Tennessee Street. Reaching Tennessee Street would require changing to another bus that would then connect with Tennessee Street closer to the center of town. This concerns me because of the number and types of businesses in this area, in particular drug and grocery stores that are needed by people. In fact, it will require a transfer just for the people from this area to reach downtown Tallahassee. The Sunday and night route (N-3) would require minimum of two transfers to go closer to Governor's Square Mall than Magnolia Drive. The same transfer problems could occur on Sunday or at night only with slightly different wait periods. This currently doesn't require a transf er at all for that trip. In addition, the same problems with reaching Tenn essee Street exist with the Sunday and night routes as occur with the Saturday routes and a transfer is still required to reach the downtown area. The Nova2010 plan makes it more difficult for people from the Jackson Bluff area to reach the local hospitals, even during the week. The number of transfers would increase from one to two in a number of cases. Travel to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capital Regional Medical Center would require two transfers on the weekday route schedule. It would be possible to get close to TMH on Saturdays with only one transfer but CRMC would still require two transfers to get closer to the hospital than Capital Circle. The night and Sunday routes would work the same for TMH but still don 't provide any service at all to CRMC. Part of this transfer problem could be solved if service still existed on Miccosukee Road between the Plaza and TMH as it does now with the existing Route 4. This would also provide better service to the schools in the area. Even the weekday routes lack adequate service to the City Hall area of downtown. In addition to City Hall, the downtown area includes such state of fices as the Florida Supreme Court, the Division of Elections, the State Archives of Florida, the Museum of Florida History, and the office of the Secretary of State. The lack of route service to this area also makes it harder for people using the park-and-ride from north of Tallahassee to reach destinations in Tallahassee. One item that appears not to be taken into consideration is the fact that riders don't always get back on the same bus. Why continue on a southbound route in the evenings, if you are going north? One gentleman I know gets off on Bronough but gets back on Duval. Therefore you can not assume a southbound route is not useful if you don't have as many pickups at a site. He informed me that he may not take the bus anymore if the convenience factor of the routes is eliminated. I thought one goal was also to keep traffic down in the downtown area. In effect, you may be doing just the opposite. Keeping people out of the downtown area hardly seems consistant with the goal of a creat ing a vibrant downtown area. A second claim of increased bus frequencies isn't true for everyone. Some areas will have longer waits than before. As an example, riders using the Forest Route will have their bus wait times increase from 30 mi nutes to 40 minutes. And to make the schedule more confusing, there will be peak frequency times and off-peak frequency times for most of the weekday routes. This will make it even harder for riders to remember when a certain bus should arrive at a transfer point. A lack of bus transfers would increase trip cost for riders. As stated on page 70 of your report ( http://www.talgov.com/starmetro/pdf/n2010-report-100217.pdf ) the planning division recommends the elimination of free transfers. For a trip that now requires two bus changes each way, without the use of transfers, the current full fare cost would rise to $7.50 for a round trip instead of the current cost of $2.50 for a round trip, unless unlimited passes were purchased. This would place a hardship on most of your riders. Unlesss fares are reduced considerably, it will still cost the average rider more per trip. If fares are reduced to ease the burden on riders, then the fare for dial-a-ride by law would have to be reduced because those fares can only be two times the regular bus fair . The transfer table examples that are supposed to demonstrate a reduction in bus transfers don't take nights and weekends into account at all. If fact they aren't true to how many people ride the bus. These tables only work if people board at certain specific locations. The Nova2010 plan has largely been designed by people who don't ride the bus on a regular basis or by people who have other transit options. It hasn't fully taken into account the needs of the current ri dership. I would hope that you would suggest to all in City Hall to ride the bus now and then looking at how these routes may change before taking any action. You may just need to expose more people to the great existing service to get the same results, increased ridership and fewer cars on the road. The Nova2010 plan as proposed will result in an inequitable distribution of resources that removes service from current riders in an attempt to in crease service to other areas. One way to help provide resources to maintain the current level of services would be to increase the headway on West Tennessee to once every 20 minutes during the week. Any route increases in currently unserved areas shouldn't be at the expense of those who have come to depend on this service to meet a variety of needs including employment, medical and recreational opportunities. Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and those of others I have spoken with. I would be willing to talk to someone in leadership and discuss my concerns now that I have seen the whole plan. Though well intended, the "revised" routings may have some unintended consequences that you hadn't planned for and will be detrimental to serving both current and future riders. Linda Pulliam mailto:lpulliam@xxxxxxxxxxxxCheck out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
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Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.