Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Buses Role and Roll

While staying in the valley of the sun for a wedding, I needed to get a haircut before the ceremony. Of course where we were staying was not very walkable. The city is sprawl with the exception of the north south light rail corridor that is under construction and even that is a stretch. I looked up a haircut place on Yelp and CitySearch and then decided that I would walk. It was on a main corridor road and it was 101 degrees outside. When I got to the haircut place I was red and needed to cool down a bit. I saw a number of bus stops on my way there but figured it wasn’t really far enough. Well, it was far enough and I decided to take the bus back to the hotel. There were no schedules on the post. There were no route maps and a next bus indicator would have been helpful to know that I would have had to wait 40 minutes for it.

Overall it was a disappointing look into why people don’t take transit. This isn’t a bus versus rail thing but rather a convenience thing. I’m sure that this corridor I was on will be turned into Light Rail when they extend the initial line to the Metro Center, and that will allow a service improvement, but what about all of those other places that aren’t going to get light rail. What are cities going to do about bus service? Are they going to be like Portland and use all the money they saved from operating costs to increase bus service? That should be the main goal of cities building new rail starts, improve the bus system as well, which seems to be the goal of transit agencies who are doing this, specifically in Houston and Seattle. Without it, the only people riding the bus will continue to be the poor and the advocates.

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