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Archive for Monday, September 27, 2010

Lawrence public transit systems honored by state, federal associations

Ridership increase since KU, city bus lines merged is best in the state

KU on Wheels and the T received some praise for their ridership increases during the last several years. Changes in rider requirements have help increase numbers.

September 27, 2010

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It’s being hailed the “Best Bus Around,” and state and federal officials are smiling.

KU on Wheels and The T were jointly honored by the Federal Transit Association for the highest percentage increase in ridership among urban bus providers in Kansas.

Ridership is up 19.9 percent for the 2008-2009 year.

The T was also named the Kansas Public Transit Association System of the Year.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Bob Nugent, Lawrence public transportation administrator. “It’s nice to get recognition in your own hometown and fantastic when you get recognition on the state and regional levels.”

Both KU and the city attribute the success of the systems to a decision to coordinate transit services.

As a result, route 11 was launched in August 2009. It runs through downtown, on campus and shopping areas and serves a number of student apartment complexes.

“I think people like the fact that they have more choices, there are buses that go further than what they are used to and in some cases buses come more frequently,” said Danny Kaiser, KU assistant director of parking and transit.

Also, KU went to a new fare system in 2008. That allowed students to pay up front, then use their campus ID as a bus pass on either transit system.

“It was one of the first years when we were able to pay for the bus through student funds and it’s really helped a lot,” said senior Paige Lohse.

The bus systems operate a combined 15 routes that provide 2.7 million rides annually.

Comments

HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

when the buses are ready for sale on eBay (possibly using Yellow House expertise), what tax will Lawrence hippies most want to raise to buy new bean fueled turbo eco buses that cost 5 times more each? I recommend a new tax, an eco friendly 'meat' tax to also punish those evil animal killers living in the otherwise tranquil commune of Lawrence. Or possibly a 'mean landlord' tax to punish the slumlords.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

I predict the next front in 'increasing ridership' will be running the buses like a massive tipsy taxi. Bus the drunk students to and from bars, making the T a glorified pub crawl system. That would make the downtown merchants happy, more business. The residents happy, fewer drunk students on the roads. The T happy, more warm buns in the seats. Even the transients win, a warm place to hang out on a cold night. They could even put a hit dog vendor on each bus to feed them with discounted hot dogs. With 11 buses they could hit every bar in town except the stinky towny bars because they are mean drunks.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

70 % of voting taxpayers voted to approve this public transportation system. This was a high voter turnout day.

Too bad 70% of taxpayers do not have the same opportunity to speak on behalf of other ventures that in fact do increases our taxes without OUR votes.

70% of voting taxpayers on a high voter turnout day is a healthy majority. Good job voters!

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notajayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says…

"For some reason, public transportation is expected to 'pay for itself,' something not done with other public services and which doesn't happen even in more densely populated urban areas."

I thought you liberals were always touting the transit systems in places like the Far East as shining examples of what we should be doing? In Tokyo they make something like a 70% profit.

And in many of those urban areas you mentioned, the farebox covers around 60% of expenses - not 10% or less like the mT.

Oh, BTW: As the population ages, you're going to see more cars, not less:

http://76.12.4.249/artman2/uploads/1/UCD-ITS-RR-08-35.pdf

"Elderly Americans rely on their personal auto for a majority of their trips, more than any other age group"

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 6 months ago

Good news. For some reason, public transportation is expected to 'pay for itself,' something not done with other public services and which doesn't happen even in more densely populated urban areas. As the population ages and driving becomes more difficult and expensive, public transit will become more common and ridership will increase.

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hitme 3 years, 6 months ago

Was the Nobel Prize Committee deciding this one too?

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 6 months ago

More people ride the bus when you force them to pay for it in advance.

LJW - are you going to fix the part of the story where it says, "allowed students to pay up front", to indicate that they are "REQUIRED to pay up front" ...? There's a difference.

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begin60 3 years, 6 months ago

Progress is being made---nothing to scoff at! Does say something about the level of civilization in Kansas compared to other states though. Bus service in Lawrence still doesn't compare in quality, courtesy, or reliability to anywhere else I've ever lived, even in the Midwest. Bullying from other riders and even the drivers is fairly rampant, plus it seems Lawrence bought other citys' outmoded buses from a previous century---hardly state-of- the art!

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wprop 3 years, 6 months ago

Would favor increasing financial support of "t" if operations were transparent and noise level of buses reduced ......they make more nose than a manhood challenged ortodontist on a Harley.........

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

But the real question is: How many PEOPLE actually ride it. Not how many times one person rides it in a day. That is dumb.

Of course folks get on the empTy.it's free for the most part.

Sell homes in Lawrence for $5,000 with nothing down and 3% interest (we have local state reps who know about that and even local attorneys as well). well, almost FREE housing and cheap loans and that too will get recognition.

Journal World did a sloppy job gathering facts. The reporter should ride the buses and keep track of how many trips ONE person makes. To wilbur, the number of people means more than the number of rides.

wilbur gave his pet monkey a ride the other day , took the monkey 20 times to get an ice cream cone, so the car made 20 trips actually 40 because we came back each time to the monkey's house. So there you are, KU buses and city buses are just like taking a monkey for a ride because the passengers are too lazy to walk. Next time, the monkey walks and then one trip to get ice cream and one trip back home. End of story.

What will the J/W report tomorrow?

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couranna1 3 years, 6 months ago

well little lawrence will keep its bus service. still a small hick town but not as bad

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3 years, 6 months ago

I don't ride the T but am glad that it is available for people that need it. I hope it continues to get more popular. That will make it closer to being a break even project.

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Agnostick 3 years, 6 months ago

Always a treat to see the usual sour persimmons making their usual "empT fuss" about all this. I gotta just sit back and laugh... all we need is the Mullah to make it complete!

Congrats, keep up the good work!

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notajayhawk 3 years, 6 months ago

If my memory of recent stories about the mT serves, fare revenue was actually down, meaning the 'increased ridership' was due to nothing more than allowing students to ride for free. And they are riding the mT buses for free, despite comments like this:

collared_greens (anonymous) says… "KU students do not get free rides. Every student pays almost $70 a semester whether they ride the bus or not."

Yes, you are riding for free. As you mentioned, the transportation fee has to be paid whether or not you ride - just as you have to pay the athletics fee whether or not you participate in a sport or attend the games, and the health fee whether or not you get sick.. Your fellow students are paying it if they don't ride the bus, so it does not cost you anything more than what they're paying to ride.

The transportation fee also would have been levied, regardless, just for riding the KU buses - extending that to the mT was a free bonus. Especially as, I believe, the mT doesn't get any money from that $70 you pay.

And what happens when a student is a daily rider on the mT? That $70 would pay for two months out of the semester even if they used monthly passes, the rest of the semester doesn't cost a dime.

As someone above mentioned, your transportation fee is more like a tax. If someone makes a major purchase, such as a car, in Lawrence, they're paying more in the bus tax than you pay in your student transportation fee. They still have to pay the fare to get on the bus.

So yes, you are riding at least the mT buses for free.

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Keith Richards 3 years, 6 months ago

The city is not in the business to make money. The streets you drive on, the side walks you walk on, the fire protection, the police protection, EMS, Rec services, etc, etc. Nothing the city provides turns a profit, that isn't their business.

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

47% of the populace doesn't pay federal taxes. Unemployment 10%. Mortgage defaults highest since the 60's. More people in poverty than ever. Demand for handouts is at all time high levels.

Ridership is Up

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Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

If ridership is up, I'm sure we can look forward to a reduced taxpayer subsidy. Right?

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wprop 3 years, 6 months ago

iNFORMANT sez that drivers often "overcount" riders to insure continuation of their routes.....is there ever an audit of "rides"

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collared_greens 3 years, 6 months ago

KU students do not get free rides. Every student pays almost $70 a semester whether they ride the bus or not.

Which makes this statement from the story wrong:

Also, KU went to a new fare system in 2008. That allowed students to pay up front, then use their campus ID as a bus pass on either transit system.

It's not that students are "allowed" to. We are REQUIRED to. It's part of our student fees.

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snoozey 3 years, 6 months ago

Wait a moment. If there are "2.25 million + 450,000" T-bus rides in a city of 125,00 that means every man woman and child in town (or equivalent) must have ridden the bus 22 times a year (last year). How come every bus I see is empty or has a single passenger? This confuses me even more than the round-a-bouts.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

I especially enjoy watching a bus large enough for 20 people dropping off one 'special needs' individual at the grocery store or parked behind cottonwood waiting to pick up one person. Where a small taxi once was sufficient now an entire bus is used. Great energy conservation there, Larry. Anything to keep 'ridership' propaganda in the papers.

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HedleyLamarrr 3 years, 6 months ago

they're giving ku students free rides and only managed a 20 percent increase. Next they'll cut the fare in half for the next 'increase in ridership'. The only meaningful number is revenue minus expenses. Report where the 'T' is on that front, I doubt it's changed in any meaningful way.

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wprop 3 years, 6 months ago

WHAT A JOKE........GEO. ORWELL IN 1N 1984....THE BUSES FILLED WITH CITIZENS EAGER TO ATTEND RALLY FOR BUS MANAGERS.............

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

We don't need no stinking warrant!

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Ralph Reed 3 years, 6 months ago

Contrary to two above comments, this is great! The one back-handed compliment and one one outright sarcastic slap are unwarranted.

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Stuart Evans 3 years, 6 months ago

5 riders + 1 rider = 20% increase.

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LogicMan 3 years, 6 months ago

Good news that ridership is up.

Now, complete the story. What's the T's actual annual revenue as compared to expenses, in percentage? Getting closer to expected 50%? Was something pitiful such as 8% previously.

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