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Sound Off

Sound Off: Does the bus system track the times, places and the amount of times the buses have no riders?

The city of Lawrence provided this response: The city does not track the amount of time the buses are empty. However, the transit service was initially designed as “coverage” service. This means it was designed to cover as much of the municipal area as possible. In the last two years, the city has amended the service to make changes based on demand. This means that we may still be providing service to a given area but may not be providing it as frequently as other areas that are experiencing higher demands. “Regardless of how the system was designed or how it is operating, our ridership is dynamic,” said Robert Nugent, transit administrator. “This dynamic nature is not only spread out over the 14 hours of the day that we operate but also fluctuates depending on the day of the week and even the month of the year.” The city does track the number of passengers transported each hour. This number is a better representation of how the service is operating and highlights the success of recent changes. Prior to the amended approach, the system averaged six to eight passengers an hour. In 2011, the T service has been averaging 12 to 20 passengers an hour.

Comments

thuja 2 years, 3 months ago

If you were a fish, I would have caught you.

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gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 3 months ago

Thuja proved my point perfectly. For certain members of the community the emotional "good" of providing a bus outweighs any argument against it. At the time I ran the numbers it would have been cheaper to have provided cab money to the few people who use the T rather than maintain the system. It is a bit like the argument about increasing taxes to support a new library. The same people who argue for more taxes to subsidize the T are (generally) the ones who argue in favor of a very expensive new library from an emotional "good" standpoint. One can point out that the city could purchase 100,000 Kindles for less money but it doesn't really matter.

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streetman 2 years, 3 months ago

I believe that if there was a good, open discussion of the true cost of running the bus system - something not seen (purposely hidden??) prior to votes on this thing -- it would not pass. It infuriates me to see these big, empty buses cruising around town -- it's insane! There are limits to providing compassion.

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thuja 2 years, 3 months ago

Next, lets figure out how much it costs us to be compassionate.

Bus and car are both wrong. What can you do?

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gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 3 months ago

Actually, I ran the numbers before the last tax vote for the T. It costs the taxpayer (at that time) approximately $7.50 to provide a rider with a one way ride. So, for example, if you take the T from your home to work and back again it cost the taxpayers about $15. I ran the ridership figures against dozens of variables and nothing really had a serious correlation. Indeed, gas prices had a slight negative correlation. I'd run the numbers again but ultimately no one here who advocates for increased taxes (Merrill) would care. They'd be OK with a system at twice the price.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

The number of riders will likely come to around 500,000 maybe more If past history is any indication...

Without Uncle Sam the cars would have no roads.

Without Congress shoving billions in tax dollars subsidies to the oil industry gas price at the pump could be $15.00 - $42.00 a gallon. Protecting the world's oil fields for the oil giants involves trillions of dollars.

Yes cars are quite expensive items for the taxpayers.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

Of course, still cars are never happy. Get 'em out on the road & watch the smiles come over their little faces.

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none2 2 years, 3 months ago

Jack, You can use logic all you want. The fact is that plenty of people in Lawrence are parasites who feed off the withered teats of Uncle Sam despite the fact that he has no milk to give. They throw in terms like disabled and elderly as a rallying cry for public transportation despite the fact that most people opposed to this extravagance never said that these particular segments of society did not have a need for public transportation. They'll talk about students despite the fact that KU on Wheels was doing just fine before the EmpTy existed. They criticize drivers despite the fact that if it wasn't for commuters to the bigger markets, they wouldn't have the tax revenue to help support their addictions to everybody else's wallet. They claim that the buses are packed. I guess they think the windows are tinted to the point that people cannot see through the glass, that it is primarily ridden by Munchkins, or that the riders simply lay down on the floor so that they cannot be seen.

  If you suggest taking a taxi, bicycling, walking, jogging, buying a motor scooter or motorcycle or used car, etc.; you have offended somebody.  It is not PC.  The only way these people will ever grow up is the day that we have bankrupted the federal government, borrowed up to our Chinese's financiers' ears, and our economy has gotten to the point where their productive neighbors finally say enough is enough leave Lawrence to the leeches.

  We have a nation in an economic crisis. We have people who have health issues.  We have issues with how to continue to fund Social Security and Medicare for those who truly rely on it to keep going.   We have people who live in more rural communities who don't even have the luxury of having businesses, hospitals, etc to walk to in the first place.   Yet these people think it is more important to keep EmpTy buses driving all over town for every able bodied Tom, Dick, and Harry who wouldn't be caught dead with even a bead of sweat from walking, jogging, or bicycling.   It wouldn't take much effort to post plenty of photos of empty or near empty buses, but it would be to no avail.  It is like the story of the Emperor With No Clothes.   Nobody dares to tell the truth to the powers that be that the emperor is naked.  So rolls it with the EmpTy.  Perhaps they should spend more of their time pushing for an "Occupy EmpTy" movement.  Then maybe it would have better ridership numbers.
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JackMcKee 2 years, 3 months ago

Just back from dinner out downtown. I happened to see one of those new huge 50 seat "eco-friendly" buses driving down Kentucky. It was totally empty at 5:30 PM.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 3 months ago

Merrill and his love of government workers is a inane. Taking a dollar away from me, so I can't spend it, and giving it to someone else does not grow an economy. There is still just one dollar that has been spent, it was just spent by someone else. Economics is not a strong point on these boards.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

KU and the T engaged in long term discussions before teaming up and working together. It is a good operation and both pay reasonably well = good for the local economy.

The T offers one of the largest payrolls in Lawrence,Kansas plus benefits.

Of course the city keeps an eye on the numbers. Actually the T cut back on larger buses and brought in more smaller vehicles which is more functional for Lawrence,Kansas. Hats off to city hall on this decision.

Citizen taxpayers approved funding for the T by city wide vote.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

"Ever heard of gas taxes, property taxes and sales taxes, Merrill?"

Still cars are never happy. The JW comment sections frequently have unhappy cars whining about something.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 3 months ago

Does the City actually report total bus revenue, costs and riders every year? I can't say that I've ever seen it.

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Phil Minkin 2 years, 3 months ago

The city parking lots are a waste of space and money as I frequently see lots of empty spaces. I also only put out trash once or twice a month so we should make trash pick up only monthly. And those bums at the fire stations spend lots of time not putting out fires. Let's get rid of most of them.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Cars and roads are high dollar budget items. These cars are constantly demanding more and more tax dollars be spent.

These cars expect government to provide them with an obsolete trafficway design at a cost of more than $200,000,000 million dollars which covers only the installation. Not the millions that will be demanded to remove the snow,resurface,more law enforcement and more lanes and more of who knows what next.

Yes cars are definitely a very high dollar budget item...... always demanding the smoothest of roads and more parking space even multi million dollar parking garages.

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rockchalker52 2 years, 3 months ago

Ya know, I've often wondered why this column is called 'Sound Off' because rarely does anyone do that. It's usually just a helpful vehicle for answering questions posted by the readership. Today, lots of people are sounding off with enthusiasm. Giggety.

Gotta run, the bus is coming. I hope I can get a seat. It looks packed.

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asixbury 2 years, 3 months ago

All of you who are against the bus system are selfish and short-sighted. Every time I have used the bus, it's been pretty full. There are times when no one is on it, but not often. There are many reasons people use a bus. To be more environmentally conscious (less cars on the road), because they cannot drive even if they wanted to, because they do not have or make enough money to support their own car (cars are very expensive), and because they are students from out of this area who decided not to lug their car all the way to KU. America's infatuation with having one car to every citizen is a big cause of global warming. Less cars on the road = a good thing for the world. You guys don't care about anything but yourselves, so never mind.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 3 months ago

Those who put the least into the system, continue to demand the most from it.

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gatekeeper 2 years, 3 months ago

Try getting any companies to relocate to Lawrence without having a reliable transportation system.

I see busses all the time with riders. I see people waiting at the bus stops. Maybe some whiners out in W. Lawrence don't use it and are pissed about it, but people in other areas of town do use the bus. Most of us don't want to pay for people in W. Lawrence to have a new rec center (because you don't need it, just drive your nice cars to the others in town), but you want us to pay for it.

Goes both ways people.

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omgsmileyface 2 years, 3 months ago

I ride the bus 4 days a week I would not have a job without the bus system so anyone who would vote against the bus system obviously has never been down on their luck and needed a little help. If you are so lucky why don't you donate your car to someone who rides the bus daily and then you can find out just how lucky you really are.... If that is your picture then you look like you can afford to buy us all a used car

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rockchalker52 2 years, 3 months ago

Cities the size of Lawrence need a bus system. It serves a need that definitely exists. Tax dollars are used for actions & services that benefit the community. I don't mind paying for that. As Can't_have_it_both_ways so aptly pointed out, it is a small price to pay for those of us who work to support our families.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 3 months ago

It sounds like mini vans or taxis would be just as effective as the buses but cost a lot less to operate. Hopefully that's where we'll end up when the federal funds dry up and the buses need to be replaced. There is no excuse for driving around 20,000 lb buses with one or no riders.

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backyardwino 2 years, 3 months ago

I see bus drivers every day that take care of people in a way that I would hope my own mother is taken care of. There is obviously a need and demand for public transportation because the citizens of this city overwhelmingly voted for it. It just makes sense. ( http://tinyurl.com/7u4q9f9 ) I have a vehicle that proudly sits in the driveway 6 days a week because I ride the bus. Do you really think the bus system drives around empty? Really? Obviously you don't ride it. Very 'merican of you.

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consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

It is only a small price to you. Everyone in the city is paying for empty busses to ride around and gain miles, use fuel, polute the air, just to create a ride for you once a week or every two weeks, however, often you use the bus. a city this size does not warrent a city wide bus service. Take a cab, rather than have property taxes go up every year.

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Phil Minkin 2 years, 3 months ago

Any fixed route system consists of fluxuating hourly demand with a need for a constant suppy. They are lessening the frequency of some underused, but still essential routes. But in order to serve the entire city there are some inefficiencies in the system. As a senior citizen with no car who depends on the T, as do many others, an occasional empty bus is a small price to pay for freedom of access.

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Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 3 months ago

"In 2011, the T service has been averaging 12 to 20 passengers an hour."

According to their route map (http://www.lawrencetransit.org/pdf/route-map.pdf) there are 10 to 16 routes running at any given time. So, one person per bus per hour. Not bad. /s

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