> StarMetro is working on a proposal to turn the system into 11
> decentralized routes running at 10-30m intervals, which will speed up
> trips, although walking distances will go up.
> Of course, the elderly and people with disabilities are up in arms about
> it. They'd rather walk 1/4 mile to an hourly bus than 1/2 mile to a
> 30-minute bus.
> Never mentioned in the article, of course, is the fact that "people who
> can't drive" have been systematically ignored for the past 60+ years.
This change is meant for those who can walk fine, since the time it takes to
walk the 1/4-mile increase in the average walking distance, takes about 5
minutes for someone who can walk the regular speed of 3 mph. But many
people can't do this, some at _any_ speed.
This service appears to be the off-peak service, which serves non-commuters
mostly (although university student also often travel at off-peak). The
transit 'biz' calls these people transit 'captives,' meaning they don' t
have a car, and therefore, a cut in service will not result in them turning
their backs on transit. Those who commute at rush hour are called
'transit-choice' riders, since they usually have cars, and their use of a
car will contribute greatly to road congestion, a threat not possessed by
However, if you have a para-transit service for those with mobility
challenges, they do have a choice, and a threat. They can switch to this
alternative service, which costs much more to the transit authority to
provide. If they don't now provide it, the ADA might require it, if there
is a formal complaint.
Another point, trips by captives are usually shorter in distance and in the
duration of the stay at the destination than those by choice riders. When a
trip is shorter, it usually makes the effort involved in getting to and from
the two stops (each way) seem less worth it. That, too, should signal the
transit companies to make off-peak service more, not less frequent than its
It is just that they don't care about this service, since they aren't facing
congestion at these other hours, and don't expect those traveling to abandon
them. But there is potential for the ridership to grow if they did. How
many people who just don't go out, or who rely on 'travel welfare' (rides
from family or friends) would ride the bus if the service were more decent?