Archive for Monday, January 18, 2010

Transit plans on a roll

Public input to be taken on increasing efficiency

A KU bus enters downtown headed for a stop for passengers near Ninth and Massachusetts streets Friday. Public meetings begin this week for the latest recommendations for consolidating and possibly adjusting transit services involving the Kansas University and city bus services.

A KU bus enters downtown headed for a stop for passengers near Ninth and Massachusetts streets Friday. Public meetings begin this week for the latest recommendations for consolidating and possibly adjusting transit services involving the Kansas University and city bus services.

January 18, 2010


Transit systems increase joint efforts

Local transit systems are looking to work more closely to provide service to people in Lawrence. A new route would allow more people to have access to the services. Enlarge video

Transit open houses

The Lawrence Transit System and KU Parking & Transit have scheduled open houses to explain recommended changes to transit routes, gauge public reaction and compile suggestions before preparing for implementation.

The schedule:

• 6 p.m. Wednesday, Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive.

• 6 p.m. Thursday, Building 21, Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper.

• 11 a.m. Friday, Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.

• 6 p.m. Jan. 25, Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St.

• 4 p.m. Jan. 26, Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union, 1301 Jayhawk Boulevard.

• 4 p.m. Jan. 27, Lawrence Visitor Center, 402 N. Second St.

• 11 a.m. Jan. 28, Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.

Transit officials are gearing up for a second round of coordination between bus systems serving Lawrence and Kansas University, striving once again to boost convenience, trim waste and, eventually, add more riders.

All without spending any more money.

“We want to be more efficient,” said Robert Nugent, the city’s transit administrator. “We want to use our resources wisely. Any time you make changes, you want to increase the potential for more ridership. This gives us that potential.”

With that goal in mind, officials with both systems are preparing to take a series of recommended system changes to the public for review.

Some riders would see their routes redirected, either to speed service or to gain more riders. Others would find themselves calling ahead 24 hours in advance to schedule rides on smaller van-like vehicles dispatched to provide “curb-to-curb” service.

And by the time the city’s new vehicles start rolling off assembly lines and into the municipal transit fleet — three large 40-foot-long hybrid-powered buses could be ready within 18 months — such vehicles could even have a fresh look, one that reflects the cooperation between systems serving the city and KU campus.

The T, theoretically, could find itself depicted in KU’s pervasive Trajan font.

“We’re thinking about a branding scheme that would be complementary to KU’s,” Nugent said, emphasizing that such discussions were in the early stages. “If we’re buying new vehicles, we’ll probably want them to match up better than they do now.”

Together, the two systems accommodate about 2.7 million boardings annually, of which 2.3 million are attributed to the KU system and about 400,000 are credited to the T.

Those lines would continue to blur, however, as the two systems establish combined routes. The systems already operate one combined route, and among the changes recommended for implementation — perhaps as early as Aug. 1 — would be a second.

The new route, which would be known as Route 12, would start at the area of Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive, near Free State High School and Walmart. From there it would go south on Wakarusa to Bob Billings Parkway, then head east to the KU main campus, where riders could transfer to other routes.

Also recommended: dropping fixed-route bus service in North Lawrence and during off-peak periods in an area generally north of Sixth Street, between Wakarusa and Iowa Street. Instead, residents would be able to call ahead to arrange “curb-to-curb” service, an option that would be expected to increase usage and interest in such areas.

“It’s an effort to get more into the neighborhoods,” Nugent said.

Danny Kaiser, assistant director of KU Parking & Transit, said that such offerings could help draw more people into using the system — perhaps even enough to justify restoring fixed-route service in the future.

In the meantime, the so-called “demand-response” service would allow the city to run smaller vehicles in areas where they would be more appropriate.

“We’re trying to be responsive to what people have told us previously: In too many areas we have too large of vehicles running around with not enough people in them,” Kaiser said.


gccs14r 8 years ago

Run the buses until 1 a.m. so second and third shift folks can use the system. That would let people get to and from downtown for dinner, too. Also, instead of wending their way through the neighborhoods headed for a common transfer point, they should primarily serve the arterials on an out-and-back scheme, with transfers permitted at every major intersection. That would provide more direct service in less time for larger areas of town.

overthemoon 8 years ago


What are you talking about? A real bus system like every other city in the country figured out ages ago?

Clint Church 8 years ago

I thought KU had a copyright on the Trajan font.

LogicMan 8 years ago

"want to increase the potential for more ridership"

Interesting goal. Might I suggest instead "Increase full-fare riders."?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

Might I suggest keep the senior discount.

hipper_than_hip 8 years ago

Maybe they should discontinue the bus that goes out to Jayhawk Paper Company. It's always empty.

nascarmomma 8 years ago

what about changing more routes to help out all the working parents get students to and from Jr and High School. That would be nice!!

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

How about demand-response curb-to-curb service for all routes not directly connected with KU. The only buses I ever see with people on board are the big KU buses. We'd probably only need 1 small mini-van to cover the whole city for demand-response. Or eliminate Lawrence Transit altogether, all the different KU routes are basically going to get you close enough (as in walking distance) to where you need to go. Plus a decent fare increase is needed -- maybe $2.50 per one-way trip.. Not only do I not want to pay for your health insurance, I don't want to pay for your big empty bus!! See you bus free-loaders at the LIAC meeting; I'll be there to voice my total disgust and contempt for this waste. Why are we not having 'tea bag' demonstrations at these meetings?

9070811 8 years ago

Run later and run on Sundays. I would use the bus to get to work if the last stop wasn't at 7:38. I get off at 8. It ticks me off on a daily basis.

cowboy 8 years ago

I bet that KU is pretty darn happy about the 4 million dollar annual infusion into their bus system by the city. Heck , were even buying them new hybrid diesels , 40' long buggars , to add to their fleet. And now your asking for input. Heres my input. 1. Spend some time on figuring out how to lower the tax burden by cutting costs , raising revenue to a break even point . 2. Buy a bus that is fit to the needs , small diesel hybrids , not 40' tractor trailers. 3. Put some advertising on these roving beasts and recover some revenue. 4. Put an auditor overseeing the bus staff and give the public an honest assessment of the system instead of the propaganda we get every couple of months. 5. Cease the point to point programs , when did we approve private taxi service at the public's expense.

Once you have achieved this then get back to us !

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Cowboy, (and the like) I really hope you attend one of these meetings. I'm really concerned that all these folks who run these meetings see is public transit cheerleaders. We've mobilized and voiced our objections to ObamaCare, but we also need to get out and let them know we are no more fond of this particular huge waste of our $$!!

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