Dependable Erection

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Maybe you could upgrade the bus stops while you're at it?

DATA officials said that if Congress makes the money available, they could use $32.5 million to expand public transit service in the city.

The system's wish list includes $9.1 million to buy more buses, $7.5 million to pay for three years' worth of fare-free service and $4.2 million in support for a proposed downtown circulator route.

Officials also told DOT they could put $10.2 million into Durham Access, the city van service for disabled and elderly residents. Some would go to buying more vans, but the bulk of the money would subsidize expanded operations.

Seriously, isn't spending money on improving conditions that bus riders have to deal with more important than going to a fare-free system? Can't we work with employers to develop tax breaks for subsidizing bus fares, and spend capital on, you know, capital improvements?
This is a typical Durham bus stop. It practically screams "Don't take the bus unless you have absolutely no other choice." If you treat your bus riders like dirt, so what if you give them free service?

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6 Comments:

  • But for God's sake, don't do it by cutting down the tree.

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at 12:44 PM  

  • In this particular instance, the two bus stops should be aligned across the stree from each other about 20 - 30 yards north on Avondale Drive, near the corner of E. Knox St. There should be a crosswalk between the two bus stops, considering that if this is your bus, at least once a day you're gong to need to cross the street, either to get on the bus, or to get off the bus. Shelters would be nice, or at the very least, benches. Sidewalks too, although NCDOT did install sidewalks part of the way south from I-85 as part of the widening project.

    The city did a very good job of preserving trees when they installed sidewalks along Markham Ave. three years ago. There's no reason why this tree would have to go if a sidewalk was installed along Avondale.

    Finally, a trash can would be nice. One of the problems with bus stops, especially in neighborhoods, is that they attract a lot of trash. This gets the neighbors really angry. Especially if they are not the ones using the bus stop. Them when DATA asks for more money so they can lower the fares the neighbors say, "Why the fuck should my tax dollars go to lowering bus fares, when all they do is turn my block into a dump?"

    Seriously, living near a bus stop should be a selling point. Instead, in most parts of Durham, it's a sign that you need to get the hell away from there.

    By Blogger Barry, at 1:14 PM  

  • Barry, I haven't been following this debate very closely; are you saying that you are opposed to fare-free service?

    This seems kind of silly to me, like making the perfect (light rail) be the enemy of the good (more mass transit riders). But I get your point.

    My front yard would be perfect for a bus stop (in fact it almost was until the TPNA killed it, before I bought the house). Why don't we offer tax credits to property owners willing to put up with the nuisance? My daughter could sell hot coffee to the riders.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 2:35 PM  

  • No, i'm not opposed to free fares.

    I don't see them as the highest priority for our limited transit dollars at this point.

    Increasing service levels and improving the quality of service in order to attract more "riders of choice" are, in my mind, a higher priority. Public transportation is not, and should not be considered, only for those with no other options.

    By Blogger Barry, at 2:44 PM  

  • The city (after Barry's lobbying) did put a trash can at one stop on Avondale, which people use as a bench.

    By OpenID mrsdependable, at 9:18 AM  

  • Shouldn't have to lobby for a trash can at a bus stop. That should just be part of the program.

    Of course, when you view your customers as people who have no other choices, then you're not really obligated to provide them with decent service, are you?

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:47 AM  

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