Thursday, March 01, 2007

no county bus service... for now

AANews announces that AATA will not be persuing a millage to expand service to the entire county.

A consultant found that 54 percent of Washtenaw County voters would support a .5 mill tax to extend AATA service countywide. Without at least 60 percent support among voters at the outset of a campaign, a strong informational effort would be needed, the study said.
We'll asume for now that it is rational to abandon the idea even though more than half of taxpayers were willing to support it without any prior marketing. Still, wouldn't part of this informational effort be made by local government and employers? If this study was based on a go-it-alone marketing campaign, then AATA needs to work on their networking skills. There is all kinds of info we'd like to see from this report, but top of the list is what township and village governments think of the idea. We are more interested in what the 21 "key opinion leaders'' said in their interviews than the 6% shortage on public opinion. If local leaders want this to happen, they can contribute to the effort to make it happen.

But AATA is going for a softer sell:
"We are not interested in putting forward a proposal that the community is not interested in supporting," Nacht said.
AATA is "not close to offering the community any specifics," he said.
...the study included that there is little awareness of AATA outside its immediate service area.
With the usual caveat of potentially pot-stirring journalism by the News, doesn't that come off as stupid? 46% of respodents don't support expansion of a service they don't know anything about but AATA is not willing to explain it to them.

At the same time, AATA is dealing with enough problems in the existing service area. It looks like Ypsi won't be able to pay their part of the bill soon and we need to keep those lines running. Maybe this isn't the best time to expand.

On the brighter side, the report finds that, "the buses are clean, safe and usually on time." Between that, Ridetrak, and the fabulous Link, our buses are rollin' pretty smooth.


Anonymous said...

"Fabulous link"??? I just don't get the link.

It only runs between places that are in my walking radius.

However, it might be useful when carrying heavy stuff. When the service first came out I rode it a couple of times on Summer Saturdays from the Farmer's market with 30 lbs of veggies back to my office on campus. Unfortunately it seems to no longer runs on the weekends or during the summer, eliminating that potential use.

Occasionally, I might want to ride in a nice warm bus from campus to main street on a cold evening, but the service ends quite early.

I admit that the addition of actual times on the schedule is a big improvement over the former "about every 20 minutes".

It would be more useful to have a "fareless square" as in Portland Oregon, a downtown region within which buses are free.


Scott said...

Yeah, I know not everybody is bubbling over with Link love. But right now it's quite popular, suggesting that there is some utility to the route, even if you aren't able to take advantage of it.

Sure weekend, evening, and summer service extensions would be great. We just need to convince somebody that such improvements to service are worth putting up some cash for. The most logical source is the DDA since downtown businesses could benefit the most, as well as the possible integration with parking. But the DDA may already feel like an ATM from doling out for go!pass, contributions to city projects, etc.

As for Fareless Squares, AATA's entire routing concept would have to be redesigned for such a program to work. The current spoke & hub routes don't lend to 'round town trips.

Murph said...

"AATA is not willing to explain it to them."

I'm not sure that's quite fair. You seem to be reading this as a declaration of defeat and abandonment of the idea, while Greg Cook and Nacht are both quoted as talking about the need to go out and educate. From discussions I've had, I don't think AATA ever thought that this opinion poll was an all-or-nothing now-or-never sort of thing; AFAICT, they've always expected that there'd have to be some sort of education campaign - this study was in part to show them "how much" and "where do we need to target?".

Scott said...

As much as I try to keep posts optomistic, useful, and informative (if opinionated), some posts just end up sour. I apparently woke up on the wrong side of the bed on this day.

That said, I wish the article would have explained the what, where and how much of marketing requirements for expansion. What results would be sufficient to pursue a marketing campaign and where did they fall short in the survey? Maybe I can get a copy of the report from AATA...

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bus to kl said...

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reshma M said...

Oh AATA came into these services, we hope it will provide the best quality.

Thank you..
Reshma M,
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