Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Americans using rapid transit

Sorry to everyone about my long absence. Life caught up with me for a bit.


Americans drove less in July, used mass transit more, feds say

I love the idea of taking transit and going multi-modal. Here in the Rogue Valley, it would make it much easier to get from Medford to Ashland and parts in between. I actually feel so strongly about it that I started a discount RVTD bus pass program at work. Instead of $70 a month for a full-fare bus pass, it's $12.50 if you purchase it from HR.

There is a simple problem with the program. There is a distinct lack of service for the hours our company needs. Most nurses at the hospital work 7a-7:30p. I work 6a-6:30p. For me, the first bus gets me to work 5 minutes late, but at least I have a ride home. For the nurses, they can get to work on time, but there is no bus home. All the bus routes stop by 6:30p. My route is the latest, and the last bus leaves at 6:30p. That's the bus I can use to get home.

To top it off, most of the buses only have 2 slots on the bike racks on the front of the bus. When you get a large route like the one from the transit center to the VA, or the one to Ashland, those spots are like gold.

In short, I purchased a bus pass back in August and the first time I tried to use it, I couldn't because of lack of bike space, and I couldn't use it to commute to work, because that particular bus always runs at least 5-10 minutes late and wouldn't get me there in time.

RVTD, unfortunately, is stuck in a sort of catch-22. They can't increase times and routes without an increase in ridership, but an increase in ridership won't happen until they increast times and routes.

I'm planning on heading to a few RVTD board meetings to have my say about it, and hopefully RVTD will listen. If you've wanted better bus service for the Rogue Valley, take the initiative and get to a couple of their board meetings. Let your voice be heard, and if enough of us really want it, we can get better bus service.