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March 19, 2010

Comments

Dan, great post. I am in agreement with your general positions and many of your assertions.

The point of frequency though needs to be carefully considered in the context of our system though, for several reasons.

1)Frequency is considered to be a top priority for riders "by choice". For riders "by necessity", our premise is cost is the big concern, given our "loop routes" which require full pay payment every time you board the bus with the exception of at the transfer center.

2) Frequency requires both additional operating and capitol cost, and I am supportive of these extra cost. But that cannot be properly accomplished not only because of budget and funding concerns, but first because of ridership concerns, which is the big unreported story.

3) The Athens Bus Campaign concluded in a recent analysis of general ridership trends over the past decade that non-UGA ridership has declined over the past decade too a dramatic decree. Since 2001, trips by non-uga riders have declined by a conservative estimate of 250,000 trips annually. Operating budget in 2001, 2.4 million dollars. Operating budget for FY10, app 5.4 million.

4)Right now, just a small part of the story has been told, and not very well I might add, which I take responsibility for....

5)An across-the-board fare decrease would position ATS to be one of the first, if not the first, in the recent history of our country, to accomplish such a thing. In my view, it is the first step in creating an innovative system that reflects the values and commitments of our community.

P.S. Rochester NY last year decreased fares for most riders, but did not do an across-the board decrease. Ridership up over 20 per cent. :)

Michael

Dan, I love this: "Let's deploy enough buses to dramatically reduce wait times and expand hours of service. Let's plan very simple direct routes, and have many of them converge downtown to create a very frequent "circulator" route."

As usual, I love how you continuously dream of ways we can make Athens better. As I said at our meeting last night, I wish the bus system was easier to navigate and practical to use. Kudos to you for this post!

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