Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Metro looks to improve routes

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Madison Metro Transit proposed a comprehensive plan to
improve the deteriorating on-time service and expand operation hours of the
city?s buses in a meeting Tuesday evening.

?The whole system needs to be looked at,? said Kathy Casper,
Fitchburg resident and daily Metro Transit rider. ?Drivers cannot go to the
bathroom and cannot get out of their seat to stretch. Drivers and customers
need to be listened to.?

According to Sharon Persich, planning and scheduling manager
for Metro Transit, the plan is intended to beef up ridership by expanding
services, balancing loads on the isthmus by adding two additional routes and
increasing the frequency of already established routes.

?Between 2002 and 2006 we brought forth restructuring plans
that all revolved around reductions and eliminations,? Persich said. ?While we
tried to put a positive spin on those restructurings, they were developed to
reduce service hours, and we are seeing the ramifications of those reductions
in some serious scheduling problems.?


One of the most critical issues Metro Transit is currently
encountering is the scheduling problems with Route 6, which Persich said is the
longest route with the highest ridership. However, the increased frequency and
expansion of routes will not come without its drawbacks. Route realignments
have caused reductions on other lines, and passenger transfer times are
anticipated to increase for some routes.

?There will be some productivity-driven efficiency
reductions because we are reallocating some services,? Persich said.

Casper voiced concerns with transfer point waiting times,
especially with the plan expecting more delays for some riders.

?No one should ever be stuck at transfer points, especially
the southern one,? Casper said. ?There is drinking, fights and drug deals.?

Along with the comprehensive proposal, Anne Gullickson,
transit service manager for Metro Transit, discussed recent federal regulations
implemented in January that will limit charter services provided in the past,
namely the Bucky Bus.

According to Gullickson, this is an ongoing issue from
private motor coach businesses, and the recent regulations will limit the
public bus service from providing services not only to the University of
Wisconsin but also to other public events around the city.

?What concerns me is the impact on the local population,?
said Carl DuRocher, transit and parking commission chair. ?Next year we will
have 100,000 people going somewhere that will be expecting to pay four or five
dollars that may turn out to have to pay 15 or 20 dollars ? I think that is a
serious concern.?

Members and presenters discussed alternatives to compensate
for the service loss, which included using property tax dollars to subsidize
the extra costs and simply adding extra buses to regularly scheduled routes
during times of anticipated increased ridership.

?There have been ongoing discussions to take a look at any
creative way to provide this service,? Gullickson said. ?But we do not want to
mislead the university to expect a positive outcome. We have not thought up any
other way to offer these services as of yet.?

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