Ann Arbor Area Community News
Update: After posting this article I received some feedback from the AATA clarifying some of the statements I made below. I am including their comments in italics so you can get the full story of what is going on.
The AATA Board Finance Committee recently asked staff to come up with recommendations for reducing bus service to low-performing routes and increasing service to routes that are doing well. Sounds easy, right?
So several months ago, the staff set out to do just that. They based their reduction recommendations on which routes had the lowest ridership (such as the 14 and the 1U) and on consultant recommendations.
At today’s Policy and Operations Meeting, AATA Board members were supposed to
More riders are riding buses that ever before. And the low performing routes are no longer doing all that bad. In fact they’re doing quite good. What we don’t know is whether the increase in ridership is along the portions of the routes that are proposed for adjustments.
Staff is seeing an unprecedented amount of passengers. 2-3 years ago, there were about 20 passengers per service hour. Now there are 32. October-December of 2006 1,414,976 people rode AATA buses. This past October-December, 1,502,863 people rode. That’s over 85,000 more
So who are these riders? Well, the UM does account for a lot of the increase. But that’s not all. The numbers of other riders are up, including those that use go!passes (yeah!).
The AATA is trying to figure out how it will modify service to meet the financial needs of the organization and the increased rider numbers. Stay tuned for some public meetings to address potential changes. In the meantime, I’ll see you on the bus!
In other AATA news . . .
The AATA recently installed 16 new bus shelters. 10 of those replaced old and unhappy shelters.
The AATA is looking at the feasibility of a fare increase. The last time they increased the fares was in 2001. But nothing is set in stone and the conversation is just getting started. The frequency of a fare increase is not the main reason to consider a new fare increase. There are many variables including the increase in fuel from 88 cents per gallon at the time we had our last fare increase to now paying $3.00 per gallon.
getDowntown is working with the AATA to create a transit service for evening employees in the downtown. The basic idea is having a van that picks up employees at a certain designated location downtown and drops them off at their destination. The service will probably be piloted in 3-6 months and start by providing service to employees who live on the west side of Ann Arbor (which, as was found in a survey getDowntown conducted, is where most evening employees live). getDowntown is presenting this survey to several groups and if you want a copy of the presentation, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Policy and Operations Committee is discussing the advertising that is wrapped on the buses. Some individuals with visual impairments are saying they can’t see through the wraps.
Since the bus wraps bring in about $169,000 a year to the AATA, the organization is going to have to decide if having the wraps is worth the money or if they just present too much of a hassle for riders. Any comments you have about this would be appreciated. The $169,000 is equal to providing service more than doubling the service on some routes.
Finally, the AATA discussed what to do about snow at bus stops. This was recently an issue with the last snow storm since the City plows often pile up snow at AATA stops. The AATA is going to try to work with the City to coordinate snow removal to make sure stops don’t get covered.
That’s about it from AATA land
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