Updates on COTA transit center and TARTA votes

7 08 2011

I thought I would write an post updating several stories we have been following on Twitter (@ohiotransitnews).

1. It is looking like the previously proposed large transit center to move riders off Broad and High Streets, will not happen.  The first drawback to the proposal came when a COTA study revealed that the transit center probably would not diminish bus congestion downtown and some riders would be required to walk more.  After four public meetings, a new $20 million transit center does not look likely, but COTA will recommend to its board a bus routing plan for downtown sometime this fall.  This article says that that they are likely to promote moving some of the buses off High Street to Front Street.

2. Sylvania Township will not put a referendum to remove the township from TARTA service on the November ballot.  The law allowing individual community members to withdraw from the transit authority (in the past the other members had to agree to allow another member to leave), will not go into effect until the end of September.  Legal council determined that taking action before the law was in place could run into trouble.


Budget allows communities to vote for TARTA

6 07 2011

There was an understanding that the new state budget may include a provision that would allow TARTA members to vote individually to withdrawal from the service, and this article seems to confirm that is a fact.  Previously, all other (9 communities) would have to approve the departure of one member.  Perrysburg is the member that has been pushing for this option to leave TARTA.  It appears that Waterville may also look into the option of leaving TARTA.

It looks like there are two commuter routes that pass through Perrysburg (10A/L and 42X) along with para-transit service.  Waterville has only one express bus (29x).

from WTOL11

Dump the Pump Day has Come and Gone

22 06 2011

From my following of transit news, probably Dump the Pump Day (June 16th) is the busiest news story day of the year.  Now that the day has long passed, I thought I would mention a few words.  From what I can tell, most transit agencies in Ohio had some sort of promotion for this event.  SPARC (Sandusky Perkins Area Ride Connection) offered free rides for the day on their two routes.

Looking literally at the name of the day, this event promotes the use of  public transit over the automobile.  I would estimate most commuters would see this option as financial, and possibly/hopefully environmental.  COTA promotion involved helping commuters calculate there financial savings.  Basically, it comes down to the price of gas.  I always estimated that once gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon, the majority of commuters would be saving money by taking transit.  In the larger systems in Ohio the price of a one way ticket is about $2.00 to $2.25.  Therefore, a roundtrip would be about the price of one gallon of gas.  COTA mentioned a trend that their ridership goes up at $3.75.  Of course, this is stickly cost of gas, not taking into account for car maintenance, ownership, and insurance, which add much more to auto commuting.

The following tool will do a simple calculation for you.  If you do not pay for parking (which I assume most Ohioans do not–unless you work in transit friendly downtowns), most likely you will find that using transit (as it is now) will probably not save $1000s, but more like $100s a year.  The big money savings advertised involves eliminating the car (or a car for a multi-car household). Some money for thought.

Anyway, a happy belated Dump the Pump Day to you!

A Transit Center Review

9 06 2011

If a city has not had a central transit center built within the last few years (Dayton, Akron, Cleveland), there is probably talk of building one.  The latest news included proposals or seeking proposals in Columbus and Toledo.   I happened to be in Akron this week and was able to experience the Intermodal Transit Center, which opened in 2009, and I have a few brief observations.

What I liked…

– The Transit Center is an impressive building.  Glass, metal, spacious, and very clean.  Walking through the center, you feel like you are somewhere beyond a bus stop and that you are metaphysically going places.  I would compare it (somewhat exaggerating, I know) to walking through an airport or being in Penn Station in New York.  Nice things make us feel better about our current task that might simply be transferring buses.

– You can get out of Akron from the Transit Center.  The Greyhound station is located in the center.  This seems much more convenient than the old Greyhound location off a nearby exit on Interest 76.  Megabus also has a stop here on its Cleveland to Pittsburgh route.  I see intra-city bus travel growing in the near future and Akron is ready.

What I did not like…

– Though technically downtown and within a 10 or 15 minute walk to the city center and The University of Akron, the location feels isolated, surrounded by industrial buildings.  Though there is some food options within the center, it seems like an “intermodal transit center” would be a perfect opportunity for development.  It seems like the city could easily throw out a number of how many passengers go through the station everyday to cigarette sellers and coffee brewers.

And in a perfect world, businesses could attract top talent by locating next to the center: no transfers required.  I guess we can dream.

Update on Commuter Rail for Cleveland Westward

5 06 2011

There isn’t much new to this story (where will the project be in 15 years?) other than people are still talking about the West Shore Commuter Rail from Cleveland to Sandusky.  Among other Lorain County issues (express buses to Cleveland similar to Laketran’s commuter bus system), different commuter rail ideas were thrown out, including determining the best final destination in Cleveland.

Cleveland is job and people dispersed and a stop would need to close to other transit options.  The best location is still probably downtown.  Of the options mentioned in this article (Lakefront Station, Tower City, West Boulevard Rapid Station [three stops from Tower City], and the Westlake Park-n-Ride bus stop), Tower City would be the most convenient option followed by Lakefront and West Boulevard.  Unless you are working near the Westlake stop or downtown, you are looking at two transfers to get anywhere.  This could be different in 15 years though.

from The Morning Journal

Follow us on Twitter

2 06 2011

Oh yeah, you can follow Ohio Public Transit News on Twitter at @OhioTransitNews.

Update on rapid station in Little Italy

23 05 2011

From the Plain Dealer’s “Whatever Happened to…” series, Tom Breckenridge wrote an update on the status of a proposed Little Italy station for the Red Line.  The anser is: seeking funding.  This will not be an extension of service, but replace an existing station at East 120th.  The current station is one of the more worn down stations in the system and it is also more on the periphery of the main University Circle drag as compared to the proposed station.  A new station could not hurt.  If you have not seen University Circle recently, it feels like the home of all new development in Cleveland.

from Cleveland.com