April 26, 2012
TheRide Board of Directors Expected to Release Draft 5-Year Program for Transit Improvements, Seeks Public Input
Ann Arbor – The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide) board of directors will consider release of a draft 5-year program for countywide public transportation improvements at today’s board meeting. The program is the first step in implementing the public’s vision for public transportation as expressed in the 30-year Transit Master Plan, completed last year.
“This document takes all the research and feedback we received while creating the Transit Master Plan and identifies the tangible services that can be implemented in the next 5 years,” said TheRide CEO Michael Ford. “We’ll be taking this program back out to local communities over the next 30 days to gather additional input and make sure the services proposed will meet the needs of Washtenaw County’s communities.”
The short term program will enhance existing Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area services and increase access to public transportation in underserved areas of Washtenaw County.
Throughout Washtenaw, the short term program calls for increased door-to-door bus service for seniors and people with disabilities, several express routes to help commuters reach their jobs in urban centers, new Park and Ride lots, and local routes in Chelsea, Saline and Dexter.
In the urban area, Ann Arbor residents can expect extended operating hours, increased service frequency, and more weekend routes. Ypsilanti service will have double the number of routes for quicker and more direct service, peak hour buses will come every 30 minutes (down from 1 hour), and weekend service will be improved. Over all in the urban area, there will be 25 percent increase in service on weekdays and a 120-130 percent service increase on weekends.
If all proposed services in the 5-year program are implemented, an estimated 2.8 million additional trips will be added to Washtenaw County’s public transportation network.
“Whether you are a public transit user or not, the services proposed for Washtenaw County over the next 5 years will benefit the entire community,” said Ford. “Seniors, people with disabilities and others who don’t drive will be able to reach jobs, grocery stores, doctors’ offices, and other vital destinations. Businesses will benefit because more employees and customers will have easy access to their doorsteps, and we’ll all have better commutes because there will be fewer cars on our roads and more open parking spaces.”
A combination of federal and state grants, passenger fares, and existing local transportation millages with neighboring communities will be used to fund the 5-year program. Without additional funding, however, a funding gap of $31.9 million will exist to pay for the new services proposed over the five year period.
A report released in February by the Financial Task Force, a group of local business leaders, found that the funding gap could be paid for with a combination of fare adjustments and a 0.5 mill property tax levy in communities participating in a new transit system. If such a millage was approved by voters, the cost to the average homeowner would be approximately $4.16 per month.
Feedback on the countywide service improvements is being gathered at a series of public meetings that will be held throughout Washtenaw County and at www.MovingYouForward.org. The full meeting calendar is below:
|7:00 – 9:00 pm ||South Central District ||Saline Senior Center|
(7190 N. Maple Road Saline)
|6:00 – 8:00 pm ||West District ||Washington St Education Center|
(500 Washington St, Chelsea)
|6:30 – 8:30 pm ||Southeast District ||Lincoln High School|
(7525 Willis Rd., Ypsi.)
|7:00 – 9:00 pm ||Ann Arbor District ||Mallets Creek Branch Library|
(3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway)
|5:30 - 7:30 pm ||Northeast District ||Superior Township Hall|
(3040 N. Prospect, Ypsi.)
|7:00 – 9:00 pm ||North Central District ||Scio Township Hall|
(827 N. Zeeb Rd.)
|7:00 – 9:00 pm ||Pittsfield District ||Pittsfield Senior Center
(701 W. Ellsworth Road)
|TBD ||TBD ||Ypsilanti District ||TBD|
TheRide Board of Directors, in coordination with representatives from the unincorporated Countywide Board (u-196 board), will use recommendations from these meetings and develop a final 5-year implementation program.
The draft program is available for public input online through the Transit Master Plan website MovingYouForward.org along with meeting and district details.
The latest information on AATA routes, schedules and detours is available
at 734.996.0400 and on the AATA Routes and Schedules page.