Saturday, March 27, 2010

Two News Items of Interest

Asheville Transit was in the news today...double. First, the good news: The new Art on Transit buses were unveiled this morning. The pictures look very cool. I have yet to see one of the buses but I'm looking forward to it. And congrats to the artists! Here's a link with photos:

Now the bad new: The bus shelter near Fuddruckers, which had been built by volunteers, was dismantled at the restaurant's request. So all you folks who want to wait for the bus on Charlotte street and stay dry, you're just out of luck. But you'll probably be able to smell all that expensive cow cooking. Former councilman Carl Mumpower says "decapitating" the bus shelter is moving in the wrong direction for a city that claims it wants to increase bus ridership and, for once, I agree with Mumpower. The wonderful covered bus shelters throughout the city were his Top-A-Stop project, and a very nice one at that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Asheville Looks at Slashing Bus Wait Times

Here's a link to the Citizen-Times story. This is good news. It would cut wait times on the main roads from an hour to 30 minutes. Actually I have been kind of spoiled on Haywood Rd. because there are two lines that serve it and I could get them about 30 minutes apart. Even this small improvement will cost money though, so the city has to find a way to come up with the cash. Increasing costs for passes is one way. A car tax is another. I'm sure the out-of-town consulting firm that they hired to do the studying for the Transit Master plan had some ideas. Seems like one that one of the consultants talked to me about involved license plate fees. How about some cash from the new building downtown...the nice boutique hotel should have chipped in...all the condos should help out.

The article points out that ridership is up. But I'd like the city to come up with more creative ideas for increasing ridership even more. Only when there is a huge public demand for decent bus service will we ever get it. (Particularly a middle class demand I think). And we need the city to make a commitment to it. A shorter wait might help. But it's going to have to get to the point where riding the bus is convenient before most people are going to try it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What Happened to All the Great Things the Transit Master Plan was going to do for us?

Ok. I'm getting really frustrated with transit in Asheville. And I'm getting cynical. Seems like nothing has been implemented from the Transit Master Plan. There is still no bus service down Long Shoals Road. There is still no Sunday bus service. Oh yeah. A few routes were eliminated. So we have gone backwards as far as I can tell.

There are now two of us at work who would ride the bus if it went down Long Shoals Rd. We live in different parts of the county so we can't carpool with each other. He rides the bus sometimes anyway, but has to walk almost a mile from the bus stop to the library. Part of the walk has no sidewalk. When the weather warms up, I will do it, just so I can write and bitch about how inconvenient it is.

What can we do? Let's start with City Council and ask them what happened to the Transit Master Plan.

And really, some of the things I'd like to have in a transit system weren't even addressed in the plan. For example, it would be really nice to be able to ride the bus into downtown on weekend nights and be able to get a late bus out of town, say midnight or so. But no, if you're a bus rider, you have to call it a night at 9:30.

Here is a link to a story from the Los Angeles Times: "Riding the Bus Changes Her View."

This link is for the Snob on a Bus blog mentioned in the article.