Archive for Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Bus system’s start ‘solid,’ though riders lacking

December 26, 2000


City transit officials say the new bus system is off to a solid start, but they acknowledge there are still some growing pains for the 10-day-old "T."

Mike Sweeten, division manager for MV Transportation, said that through Dec. 19, the most recent day numbers were available prior to the holiday the system was averaging 140 riders a day.

"It's pretty good for a start, considering the weather," he said. "I'm sure that's keeping a lot of people at home. But we're real pleased with the numbers."

Karin Rexroad, the transit administrator, said the city isn't worried about numbers yet.

"That hasn't been the driving force of this system," she said. "We're doing this because it's something the community wants and the commission wants. They're willing to let it build and grow.

"We're working on user education and the tools to make it user-friendly."

The city also took over the paratransit system, which gives riders with disabilities door-to-door transportation. City officials were worried the riders weren't aware of the new system, but Sweeten said it is averaging 100 riders a day despite a glitch in scheduling software that made paratransit drivers a bit late.

About 260 people have applied to use the paratransit system, she said. Residents who think they meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements to ride have until Saturday to get their applications in and begin riding immediately.

After that, applicants will have to wait the three weeks it takes to process their forms before they can use the paratransit system.

Some riders have complained about being unable to find route or scheduling information for the buses.

"Obviously, that's a drawback," Rexroad said.

She said transit officials are distributing 30,000 maps and schedules to public buildings throughout the city. The information is also available at the city's Web site.

Other potential riders, Rexroad said, have been reluctant to flag down buses from intersections along the routes until bus stops appear in the next six months.

"That's a little unnerving to some people, especially in the cold weather," she said.

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