Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Perseverance of the Link

27. February 2007 • Juliew
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Thanks to Ed Vielmetti for the Flickr photo

The AATA Link bus service started in September of 2003. For the first year, the buses always seemed empty. Ridership hovered around 200 riders per day. People pointed to the Link as an indication of the lack of interest in public transportation in Ann Arbor. Eventually the funding ran out and sometime in 2005, the Link ground to a halt. It seemed like a nice, but failed experiment.

However, in the fall of 2005, a partnership between the University, the DDA, and the AATA, reinvigorated the Link. The schedule was more predictable and the route was enhanced so it connected not only Main Street, Kerrytown, State Street, and South University, but also the Oxford/Trotter campus housing area. The changes seem to have worked. On December 5, 2006, The Link set a one-day record of 1,975 riders and in January of 2007, there were 32,956 passenger trips on the two Link buses.

Congratulations to everyone involved. This shows how difficult it is to get people to change their transportation modes and how important it is to continue and try to find the right routes and schedules. Eventually, it would be great to have the Link run for weekend hours, evenings on the whole route, and summer hours (it does run during Art Fair), but until then, this is a good start.

  1. I still don’t get the link. When would I ever want to take it instead of walking?

       —Bruce Fields    Feb. 27 '07 - 09:57AM    #
  2. When you’re carrying heavy things, when the weather’s changed dramatically since you left home in the morning, when you’re wearing bad shoes, when you live centrally but have a disability, when you have kid in tow who’s about to melt down and 10 minutes time saved might avert that, when you’re running late, when you’ve bought 7 plants at the Farmer’s Market but live over by Oxford, when it’s pelting down rain so hard that every car sends a plume of water 12 feet in the air to drench any one on the sidewalk. Or when you just don’t feel like walking from Kerrytown to South U and back again for one item from the shop.

       —Aki    Feb. 27 '07 - 05:15PM    #
  3. Wow – this is indeed good news!

       —David Cahill    Feb. 27 '07 - 06:50PM    #
  4. I think the students deserve the credit for this one. my experience has been they are the ones filling the bus.

       —Brandt Coultas    Feb. 27 '07 - 09:14PM    #
  5. “I think the students deserve the credit for this one. my experience has been they are the ones filling the bus.”

    Students with heavy things, wearing bad shoes, in bad weather, and with kids in tow?

       —Bruce Fields    Feb. 27 '07 - 10:06PM    #
  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if students are responsible, since the extension of the goPass program to students was the factor that caused the recent increase in AATA usage.

       —David Cahill    Feb. 27 '07 - 10:11PM    #
  7. Heh—-the bad shoes would definitely qualify some of the students anyway and I’ve seen students with crutches and other temporary injuries using it, esp. the stretch between South U and Liberty St so they fall into the disability category too. I do also know some folks who work at the university who use it and AATA in general in the ways I mention (to carry stuff, avoid crap weather, etc) now in ways they might not if it weren’t free, even if it’s just to get them closer to where they’ve parked—-numbers much lower than the students, I’m sure, but still a good thing if it gets them thinking about the bus as a reliable, easy option.

       —Aki    Feb. 27 '07 - 10:38PM    #
  8. I’ve used it for the Kerrytown to Hill St stretch – it works almost as well as taking the #5 home, especially if the weather is nice or I’m running a little late.

    It is just about possible to sprint from the “D” stop at the Federal Building (arrives 01 16 31 46) and get to the outbound 5 (leaves 03 18 33 48) if you have the wind behind you. Not a perfect transfer.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Feb. 28 '07 - 12:11AM    #
  9. I think the Link really demonstrates what can work well with public transportation because it’s so predictable—people know where it’s going so are not afraid to just hop on.

    My hope is that as more people get familar with the Link maybe they will be inspired to try the AATA buses for rides a little further out to places like Arborland and the yummy, funky shops and restaurants along Packard out towards Ypsi.

    Sometimes it seems the greatest thing that holds back many from taking the buses is that they are unsure about how the whole thing works. Am I right? And if I am, got any suggestions for how to make to regular AATA seem easy to navigate?

       —Nancy Shore (AATA Board)    Feb. 28 '07 - 12:27AM    #
  10. It has taken me a while to figure out the Link and I still have never ridden it. Part of that is because I live exactly where the Link doesn’t go and I am used to walking (have good shoes, the right clothes, etc.). Aki has it pegged though. For the people who live over on Oxford, it is quite a walk to Kerrytown or Main Street so the Link is very handy. It is only a fifteen-minute trip from Oxford to Ann-Ashley on the Link so that is really good. If you park at Ann-Ashley and work on campus, it could zip you there quickly. Nancy is right too: not knowing what the schedule is, or the route, or the price has been a barrier to me. Now that I have focused on it, I see it really could be useful for me on occasion. I just never bothered because it is so easy to walk in Ann Arbor. For example, I go to the Y in the morning and work near South U. So I could grab the Link on the way in to work and get there a bit earlier. Or I could more easily get to Kerrytown or Main Street on my lunch hour. I just wish it would run in the summer when I would be more likely to use it. Walking in the winter is actually a lot easier than walking on those really hot and sticky summer days.

    If the Link ridership is similar to the general bus ridership, students would be around half of the total. Since the evening hours are specifically geared toward students, I assume they make up a greater percentage for the Link.

       —Juliew    Feb. 28 '07 - 02:37AM    #
  11. The link could use better signage.

    Right now the stops are labeled with letters of the alphabet, and there’s a difficult to figure out schedule at the stops.

    If you replaced that with something very simple and bold that gave the minutes after the hour that the bus was expected to be at the stop, you could tell at a glance if you were are the right place at the right time.

    I annotated the Link Bus map with my best estimate of time points to show how this might look.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Feb. 28 '07 - 07:30AM    #
  12. Correction: the go!pass program is only available to DDA organizations. UofM folks ride AATA free, but it is not related to the go!pass.

    I know that there have been a few surveys on the previous incarnations of the Link. Nancy, is anyone looking at ridership charachteristics now? I’m curious if there are numbers to back up the idea of the Link as a gateway drug to broader transit usership (I would guess that it is).

    I also wonder what the mode shift is. Do people switch from car to bus as a result of the Link? My initial thought is that most of the ridership represents previous walking trips. But Julie points out two other potential effects: shifting parking location and replacing longer driving trips with Link trips to alternate destinations (you used to drive to South State for lunch because Main St. was too far to walk and tough to find parking. Now you can ride the Link).

    The parking one is juicy as it suggests that the Link might play a big role in locating new parking facilities. Parking on the edge of town becomes a more attractive option when “last mile” transit is included.

    “got any suggestions for how to make to regular AATA seem easy to navigate?”

    I think Ridetrak was a great addition to bus usability, though I’m guessing that that feature isn’t so much attracting new users as it is assisting regular riders.
    There have been repeated pleas for route information at bus stops. This seems like the simplest way to address transiphobia, and lots of cities do this. As I recall, in the past AATA has said it would require too much maintenance, which I think is a lame excuse.

       —Scott TenBrink    Feb. 28 '07 - 07:40AM    #
  13. Scott,
    Thanks for your comments. I don’t know if we have ridership charactertistics for the Link and any way to verify it’s gateway drug potential. I’ll have to look into that.

       —Nancy Shore    Feb. 28 '07 - 08:36AM    #
  14. I agree with others about the signage issue. The letters of the alphabet thing really don’t work for me for some reason and seems silly. I’d rather have (at all stops for AATA) the sort of little signs showing whole schedules that are common elsewhere. Yes, every once in a while they’d have to be replaced (the inner paper part) but it would mean that anyone could walk up to a bus stop at any time and see all needed info and that could have a “gateway” effect—rapid demystification of the system.

    Total agreement with Julie that summer walking is often more miserable, especially when carrying stuff, and having the Link then would be wonderful. I’ve also often wished for it to run just a little deeper into the evening to facilitate getting to events at Hill or Power Center or the Michigan Theater, not because I mind walking at night but because it would save time and make it easier. That could be the kind of thing that picks up more “non-student” riders, people who have dinner on Main or in K’town then go to a show would discover the Link even if they have also driven in the first place. I don’t think it needs to run really late, just late enough to help with 8pm meetings, shows, university stuff, and movies.

    I don’t know about re-siting parking, especially as I think that if you move it too far from the center you not only generate legitimate opposition but it also backfires, since if people are going to have to pay to park well out of the center and to park in structures, which they dislike, they’ll park on the residential streets for free, with attendant problems and arguments. But that’s another thread. I was thinking more in terms of getting people to only park once, which is some improvement; to use all the structures, not just the one closest to their work; and to use local/central shops since it’s quick and easy and you can even buy something bulky and still get it to your car easily. I think Scott’s points about getting people to explore more, for lunch and whatever, is also really good.

       —Aki    Feb. 28 '07 - 01:59PM    #
  15. About the GoPass – I don’t know what the reference to “DDA Organizations” means. At this time, the GoPass is available to anyone who works downtown, with a fee paid by the employer of $5.00 per year. It is available to city and county employees as well. It is underwritten by the DDA each year, not the AATA. You can use a GoPass any time and on any route, not just to go downtown. The UM underwrites all students, faculty and staff for free bus rides, by paying the AATA.

       —Leah    Feb. 28 '07 - 05:08PM    #
  16. Leah, I think Scott’s “DDA organizations” meant “employers within the DDA’s boundaries”, so you’re on the same page.

    Taking another look at the ridership presentation that Juliew links to, I notice that “UM Students” are 49% of AATA riders, but that only 26% of trips are “school” related. Presumably the “school” related trips also include EMU and WCC students. (Probably not AAPS students, since it looks like the youngest demographic bracket they’re measuring is 18-29.) The other largest categories of trip purpose are “work/business” (35%) and “shopping” (16%) – telling me that, while 49% of trips may be by UM students, nowhere near 49% of trips are UM trips to class and back – students are using AATA for a wide variety of trips.

    Warms my little transit-lovin’ heart.

       —Murph    Feb. 28 '07 - 07:22PM    #
  17. I like Aki’s Link-as-taxi idea for getting to Hill, etc. It can be a mess around there before a performance. The last two times I’ve dropped off my wife (her foot’s in a cast) and parked by city hall and walked back, then reversed the process afterwards. I don’t mind the walking involved but I suspect many of those who drove in circles and idled in line to get into the structure across from the Bell Tower would prefer a warm ride this time of year. It would also cut down on all those unnecessary emissions.

       —Steve Bean    Feb. 28 '07 - 11:30PM    #
  18. It’s flipping terrifying to be biking to the Power Center or Hill in such circumstances too, because the cars are totally unpredictable as well as polluting, so if they weren’t all converging in that area I’d be pleased even if I weren’t taking the Link myself.

       —Aki    Mar. 1 '07 - 12:32AM    #
  19. I guess “DDA organizations” was bad terminology. Thanks for clarifying, Murph.

    “I just wish it would run in the summer when I would be more likely to use it.”

    Is Link service scheduled to stop over the summer? The lull last year was due to lack of funding, but I thought all that was worked out now. I assumed that it would run year round now.

    “students are using AATA for a wide variety of trips. Warms my little transit-lovin’ heart.”

    Getting students on city buses was a good way to promote AATA. Students are a lot more comfortable on a bus, more willing to try something new, and more appreciative of a free ride. Hopefully they are the critical mass of riders that will make transit seem more “normal” in Ann Arbor.

    That said, I still wonder what trips the Link replaces. If (hypothetically) Link trips were only replacing walking and biking trips or inducing new trips, would you still consider it an important program?

    It’s great to see the Link growing in popularity, building demand where many said service was not necessary. But I think it is a first step, and eventually the Link has to be connected to driving and parking. Extending service into the evening and stopping at structures seem like the simplest and most effective ways forward to me.

    Also, Aki, when I said “locating new parking facilities”, I was thinking of 1st and William, which some say is too far from Main to be a viable structure location.

       —Scott TenBrink    Mar. 1 '07 - 07:43AM    #
  20. I thought you might be, Scott! I actually think that’s a terrible place for a structure, but that’s an old argument. I guess I’d also prefer not to create a kind of ring of structures around downtown as I think they’d have the effect of breaking the flow between downtown “proper” and the near-in neighborhoods and would give a signal that once you leave the center it’s all about cars. But that’s not to say I couldn’t be persuaded about other particular sites.

    Back to the Link: good point that it may mostly replace walking, biking, or just not moving at all (eg staying at one’s desk rather than going out during lunch), rather than cut out driving per se. It’s still good as an amenity though, as an encouragement for downtown workers to use all of downtown, and I hope as a gateway drug. It may also make it a little easier to persuade new people living downtown, including but not only students, to try living without a car.

    (A ps. to my previous note about taking the Link to Hill, Power Center, the Mich—-getting the Main St. restaurants’ staff to actively tell customers about the Link on the evenings of high-profile events like the RSC shows might be an interesting experiment.)

       —Aki    Mar. 1 '07 - 12:30PM    #
  21. Scott,

    re – summer Link: as I recall, when UMich decided that they wanted to chip in for a big part of the funding (and have the Link run out to Oxford), summer service wasn’t really a priority for them, and AATA and the DDA didn’t feel they could justify summer service without UM’s involvement. The Link does run during the Art Fair, on some route, but I don’t think it has run during the summer since the very beginning. Recall that the original Link service was funded by a grant (CMAQ?), and that the current funding arrangement came about when that money ended.

    re – trips served: I don’t know what portion of Link riders are elderly, children, carrying heavy objects, or otherwise unlikely to walk or bike across town – but I konw from observation that some are. It’s easy for you, I, or Juliew to speak as relatively fit, unencumbered young adults with blase attitudes towards the elements, but I don’t think our experience leads to the conclusion that anybody who’s not going to cheerfully walk the Link route should just stick tight where they are. Knowing the background materials you’re comign from, I read “inducing new trips” as pretty negative language, implying some degree of frivolity in the trips’ purpose. For at least some riders, I expect “enabling new trips”, or, at least, “enabling trips to be taken without getting back in a car or taxi”, would be more appropriate. Data? No, I don’t have any either.

    I also remember, with some interest, one of the DDA Board members expressing similar skepticism to yours, Scott, but supporting Link funding anyways – with the statement that the Link would become more necessary in the future, as more of the proposed downtown housing came online, or as either commuter rail project could be connected in, and that continuing the Link service from now until then was important because it would be extremely hard to restart it at that point. I found that to be an admirably forward-looking form of pessimism.

       —Murph    Mar. 1 '07 - 07:16PM    #
  22. i use the link on monday and wednesday mornings when i have to get to north campus for my 9 o’clock class.

    the link stops in front of my loft (link bus stop “c”) at 8:45 and drops me off 3/4 of a mile away at cc little, where a north campus bus is usually waiting to take me to n.c. commons. then i walk the remaining 1/3 mile to my ewre classroom, cutting through commons, the media union, and the eecs bldg. to dodge crummy weather. i usually arrive right at 9:10.

    if i miss the link, i walk two blocks to the blake transit center and catch the #3 that is just about to leave. i get off just before the v.a. hospital and either walk .45 miles to ewre, cutting through cooley, ioe, and lec (and sometimes even lay and eecs) or i cross fuller, and transfer to the #22 that arrives a minute or two later and ride that to commons. i get to class a couple forgivable minutes late.

    if i miss the #3 (sigh), i walk to the diag and grab a n.c. bus from there. (and i’m five or ten minutes late to class. sorry!)

    after class, i walk back to the bus stop on murfin across from n.c. commons. within a few minutes, a um bus arrives to take me back to cc little. then i cross n. university and wait for the next aata bus. if it’s the link, i ride it to the “x” stop on william between main and ashley and walk the remaining 3/10 mile to my office. otherwise, i ride the #2 to the btc and walk 4/10 mile to the office.

    why do i ride the link instead of walking the extra mile and a half?

    um …

    because i can?

       —peter honeyman    Mar. 2 '07 - 07:31AM    #
  23. Murph, I meant “induced trips” to sound neutral. I didn’t intend to judge the act of going out to lunch vs. brown-bagging so much as point out that the number of trips increase, for better and worse.

    “I don’t think our experience leads to the conclusion that anybody who’s not going to cheerfully walk the Link route should just stick tight where they are”
    Agreed. Absolutely. And furthermore, it is the primary mission of the AATA to serve those who are otherwise limited in their mobility options. But the funding sources for the Link (UofM and DDA) kind of bend that goal. The Link is definitely geared more toward choice-users.
    The strongest evidence of that shift, I think, is the lack of summer service. There is nothing about a 95 degree July day that makes it easier for a disabled person to get around sans Link. Clearly summer service is abandoned because ridership drops, not because those with the greatest need have disappeared.

       —Scott TenBrink    Mar. 2 '07 - 08:44PM    #
  24. Nancy:

    I would say the Link popularity amongst U-M students is simply that it runs like a U-M bus. I never actually look at the arrival times; I stand by the stop and generally know I will be on my way soon enough.

    I do take the AATA daily. I live near Community High, and take classes on North Campus. It works well if I have a crossword for the North Neighborhood section. However, I would probably not take it if the M-Card program was eliminated, unless it was a dire emergency.

    I belive there are three reasons keeping more U-M students from taking regular AATA buses (and some of this can be extended to other city residents as well).

    The first is arrival times (this is U-M specific). The 1 arrives at Pierpont Commons at 15 and 45 after. Great, except classes start at 10 and 40. I am either 25 minutes early for class or (more likely) 5 minutes late. I realize that it probably has to due with transfers at Blake, but still.

    The second reason is simply lack of good late night (and weekend) service. During the daytime, I am in class. I would love to get to Ypsilanti, for example, during the night. Or to Briarwood to catch a movie. However, usually I would have no ride home from Ypsilanti, or would have to pay $5 and a hour-long wait for Night Ride. Again, I doubt this is something that can be easily remedied.

    Finally: the typical U-M student can walk to a U-M bus line fairly easily. There is no reason to learn the AATA routes for getting to class. Without carrying the Ride Guide around with you, you dont know when to catch the Briarwood bus, and if you can even get back into town or not.

    That last point can probably be remedied fairly easily by doing what U-M does, and by having a timetable at major bus stops (a la The Link). It is a fairly simple thing that would probably get more people jumping on a bus if they have their M-Cards on them anyhow. After you take a few spontaneous trips, I would imagine you would be familiar enough with the protocol to take the AATA more frequently. At that point, you may be more willing to move farther off-campus as well.

    If that is impractical, cost-wise, then something as simple as an automated phone-information line (may not have the Ride Guide handy, but students will have cell phones) may be helpful. You could just publicize the usefulness of the AATA phone number already existing, but a automated listing after the office is closed would do wonders for us wondering if we already missed the last bus or not. (During the last snowstorm, this would have been invaluable. I was lucky enough to have access to the online updates when trying to catch the bus after business hours, but usually I would just be standing in the freezing snow, not knowing how late the bus was.)


       —Jen    Mar. 3 '07 - 04:13AM    #
  25. Seems with wireless technology and some rugged mini-LCD screens at key stops, you could automate the whole paper bus schedule concept into a digital format. You could also use the screens to provide service updates and emergency info. related to weather, etc. Yeah, it would cost a few bucks and be prone to vandalism, hacking, etc. But it’s at least worth exploring.

       —John Q.    Mar. 3 '07 - 10:29AM    #
  26. Scott – I hear you now. Clearly summer service is abandoned because ridership drops, not because those with the greatest need have disappeared. is a very good point – but I think not 100% complete. I think summer service is abandoned largely because UM ridership drops, so UM doesn’t want to pay for it. Not because the Link is necessarily targeted at “users of choice” so much as that half the Link’s funding is targeted at “users of UM’s choice.” I’m personally willing to accept this as a “satisficing” answer – if we can get UM to chip in to support the service for 8 months/year, that’s far better than 12.

    I totally agree with Jen’s comment on automated phone schedules. I know the relevant routes well enough to know pretty much where they go and when they leave their endpoints – the biggest concern I always have is nighttime fears of “did the bus not come because it’s switched from every 30 minutes to every hour, or because it’s switched from every hour to done?” At a minimum, maybe the existing “the office is now closed” message could be changed to “the office is now closed. The last #1 leaves BTC at x time. The last #2 leaves BTC at y time …” so that you know whether you’re actually going to have a bus where you are, or need to head to a different stop.

       —Murph.    Mar. 3 '07 - 08:35PM    #
  27. Oops – “8 months/year, that’s far better than 12.” meant “If UM will support it for only 8 months a year, that’s far better than having NOTHING for 12 months a year.”

       —Murph.    Mar. 3 '07 - 08:39PM    #
  28. Special Message: The Link fare is FREE

    See the following

    How many potential riders know this simple fact? Interview members of the walking, biking, driving, AATA-riding community and find out. A little knowledge can change behavior.

       —FreeRide    Mar. 4 '07 - 09:17AM    #
  29. All of these great suggestions for improvements to communications at a time when the AATA board is yet again cutting back the budget without even considering revenue generation.

    Kind of hard to bring communications expansions online when the public relations and communications budgets are significantly reduced year after year…

       —makes you think...    Mar. 4 '07 - 10:31AM    #
  30. makes you think:

    That’s true. I don’t know how the GoPass funding works – do they actually track the number of U of M students/staff taking the bus, and do they get more funding money as the ridership goes up? If they do, I think what I mentioned (either through phone or sign, easier schedule notifications) would pay for itself.

    I doubt it costs much money to have an automated voice reading the times for the schedules, either. Even just something like:

    “Dial 1 for Rte. 1 … Rte. 1 starts at ___ AM from Blake Transit, reaches Pierpont 30 minutes afterwards, and runs every 30 minutes. After ___ PM, runs every hour until ____”

    would be immensely helpful.

       —Jen    Mar. 5 '07 - 12:32AM    #
  31. Murph:

    In the summer, it’s far easier for me to bike to a U-M stop than to wait for the AATA. Or, in terms of the Link, to bike or walk to where I need to go. If it’s not raining, it’s easier for me to skip the bus entirely.

    There were definitely times over the Link-less summer when I lived on Fourth and Kingsley where I wished I could just catch it to get to Hill and Washtenaw… but I made do without it enough. However, I’m an able-bodied college student, so there’s that.

    In terms of funding, I don’t think many people (even students) would have a problem with a very small fare, like 25 cents. It would bring in some money, and where a dollar for a ride is often prohibitive, a quarter is nothing. Even quarter or fifty cents fare during the art fair would be effective, I think, although maybe difficult to execute.

       —Jen    Mar. 5 '07 - 12:39AM    #
  32. My point is that the test of use of the Link as a free ride is inconclusive, because the general fare-paying (non-M-CARD-holding) public tends to think that the standard rate applies, a reasonable assumption, as there is a fare with the regular AATA buses. The AATA has provided little information of its free ride…why? If it’s a loss-leader to gain test riders, then the AATA should have been making the free status explicit in multiple ways. Now that the easily-recognizable Link buses are sometimes used on standard fixed routes, it takes a little more effort to determine whether the purple bus approaching is a Link or a 12UL.

       —FreeRide    Mar. 5 '07 - 03:52AM    #
  33. Jen: The amount of funding AATA receives based on ridership is pretty much fixed. Ridership can go up significantly, but those funding sources will remain relatively constant.

    The go!pass program is different from the MRide program. The DDA, Chamber of Commerce, and AATA fund the go!pass program – which is for people employed within the DDA’s boundaries (excluding UM employees). The MRide program is funded by federal monies and payments from the UM. It covers active students, faculty, and staff. Both programs use ridership statistics for their respective groups to calculate the cost of the pass.

    The fare for the Link is currently free because even a $0.25 fare is a significant deterrent to ridership for a short circulator route.

    FreeRide: There was a heavy marketing push to the general public when the Link initially kicked off. Unfortunately, there currently isn’t much (if any) money for that type of campaign. Every piece of information printed for the Link includes (absence of) fare info. – including all the maps at the stops.

       —Ken A.    Mar. 5 '07 - 04:29AM    #
  34. Yes, it’s a shame that there was that expensive initial marketing push. I found it to be nebulous, clearly expensive, and an attempt to use an unnecessary ‘branding’ approach that was so indirect that I heard a high school student ask whether it was an ad for a shoe store. His was a good attempt to understand an unclear message.
    My suggestion: use the bus itself as the ad. Put signs on the Link stating ‘Free Ride’ or use the electronic signs that are already on the bus to indicate the same message. The electronic signs were used for a time during the late part of the first year of the Link, and were more eye-catching than the small lettering at the stops that pedestrians pass by. Yes, I have made these suggestions directly to the AATA. The response was…reluctant to make a change that had a minor cost.

       —FreeRide    Mar. 5 '07 - 08:35AM    #
  35. FreeRide: And what of all the people who called in to say that they couldn’t easily read the route messaging information on the Link and other buses when promotional or public service messaging was run on them?

    The primary purpose of bus headsigns is to quickly and efficiently communicate route information. The public (especially the elderly) made it known that the promotional messages got in the way of that.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with your reluctance statement in this case.

       —Ken A.    Mar. 5 '07 - 09:10AM    #
  36. How much money does the AATA put into the GoPass?

       —just me    Mar. 8 '07 - 05:01PM    #
  37. I think, although I’m not sure, that the oversized classes U-M enrolled in 2004 and 2005 made the Link even more important. They don’t usually put freshman in Oxford housing but were forced to when enrollment was so unexpected. if the Link helped those students be better connected with the rest of campus and downtown, then it would be well worth the U to support it. That may have been a factor.

    I’ll give an “Amen” to the request that they change the lettering system to something else. I feel like I know downtown/campus pretty well, but I’ve found it more difficult than predicted to untangle the route/stop information.

    I think smacking a big, visible “FREE!” on the bus (and the stops) would be a good addition. If you’re not familiar with it, the term “The Link” seems like some kind of insider nickname for those regular riders who are in the know. AATA might do more to make more people realize this is a service anyone can take advantage of.

       —DowntownRegular    Mar. 10 '07 - 02:47AM    #
  38. As a daily (sometimes several times daily) Link rider, I can say from experience that the %45 student ratio vastly understates their ridership on the Link. Especially on the segment of the route between State St. and Oxford I would estimate daily ridership at between %90 to %95 students. I would say a big part of this is the fact that the Link stops proximate to nearly all of the Greek and Co-Op houses east of campus, and since the start of this Winter, most of these houses have discovered the convenience of using the Link. On this note, extending Link hours later on Thursday and Friday nights and possibly through Saturdays I think would be extremely well recieved from the majority of student riders I have talked too. Also, keeping the hours of the full route until late night could serve to increase student business to Main Street and the shops/restraunts/bars along liberty, especially in the winter.

       —mds    Mar. 14 '07 - 11:53PM    #
  39. extending Link hours later on Thursday and Friday nights and possibly through Saturdays I think would be extremely well recieved from the majority of student riders I have talked to

    Repeat after me, kids. “Mass transit prevents drunk driving.” (And, for that matter, drunk biking…)

       —Murph    Mar. 15 '07 - 08:50PM    #
  40. I trust that whoever replaces Greg Cook will keep the Link running.

    From MLive’s piece: “Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Executive Director Greg Cook said this morning that he is submitting his resignation today.

    The announcement comes amid questions being raised in recent days by AATA board members about an airline fare Cook charged to an AATA credit card for a job interview trip. Cook failed to pay back the $562 fare until it was discovered by the board.”

       —HD    Mar. 16 '07 - 06:24PM    #
  41. Snap!

       —Dale    Mar. 16 '07 - 08:10PM    #
  42. From a press release today from AATA: The Link service will end April 27 for the season and will resume service on August 27.

       —Juliew    Apr. 3 '07 - 06:42PM    #