It’s About Time

October 30, 2007 at 1:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m still not sold on all of the new routes, but as for StarTran finally making changes—any changes—to its stale and anachronistic routes, it’s about time. The new routes will go into effect next summer.

Ultimately, however, I wonder if the changes won’t make things worse for StarTran rather than better. There will still be empty buses and the routes still don’t do a good job of moving people around the city efficiently. Most critically, StarTran continues to believe that (nearly) all buses should circulate through Downtown. Until somebody gets it through the StarTran folks’ heads that doing so is a tremendous waste of time and resources, Lincoln’s bus service will continue to be crummy. Imagine instead a system with, say, three hubs scattered across the city. Such a system would require more transfers, yes, but it would also serve more destinations more quickly, meaning more passengers, and thus more money.

Also holding down bus service in Lincoln is the notion that big buses running infrequently (every 30-60 minutes) are better than small buses running frequently (every 15-20 minutes). For years StarTran has claimed that large buses are just as cost-effective as small buses. I’m not in a position to judge that contention. But I can declare with full confidence that the public would be far less put off by five people on a small bus than five people on a full-size bus. Furthermore, let’s not overlook the notion that the perception of success and popularity helps breed success and popularity. I won’t explore that in detail here, but it’s a powerful force to be reckoned with. Take a look at the presidential campaign if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, I’m hopeful next summer’s changes lead to at least some improvements in efficiency and effectiveness for StarTran. But I won’t hold my breath.

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The Comments

Harry October 30, 2007 at 5:59pm

There are approximately 46 days a year I would ride the bus if it had a bike rack.  Now I ride it an average of once a year.

foxspit October 30, 2007 at 7:52pm

I have lobbied Star Tran for bike racks several times and I keep hearing that they aren’t hearing from anyone who wants bike racks. I find that hard to believe.

To lobby for bike racks, contact Larry Worth, transit manager at StarTran, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

DianeK October 30, 2007 at 8:33pm

I have never been able to understand why they insist on running every bus through downtown.

There was a point some time back when I was going to use the bus for my daughter to get back and forth from school, but with the trip downtown she would have ended up sitting down there for half an hour or more before catching a bus and the whole trip ended up taking almost two hours - needless to say, we gave up on using StarTran for anything.

I don’t want to be driven all over creation just to get myself to a destination a few miles away, nor do I want to spend inordinate amounts of time getting there.

hbrogan57 October 31, 2007 at 9:55am

I too would use the bus a LOT more if it had bike racks.  I just LOVE the excuse for not having them… would add about 18 inches to the bus and they don’t have enough room to park the busses.

Interesting reason.  There are a LOT of riders out there that would LOVE to be able to ride their bikes to or from work but don’t simply because there are no bike racks.  Would be a bit of a pain to ride TO work and then have the weather get bad and have to ride home in the rain/snow/whatever…...

I ride on a daily basis ((Don’t own a car))  and it sure would be handy to have these.

Cities of smaller sizes have them.  I don’t understand the reasoning behind Star-Tran not too.

Also, the new routes being forced to go through downtown are a JOKE.  Personally, I don’t like to be stuck at 11th and “O” or 14th and “O” and have to tolerate all those that “hang out” by the bus stop.  Example….the over-abundance of kids that always seem to want a cigarette or the “bums” who are trying to mooch some change to “catch the bus back to the mission”....My response to that is….WALK OVER THE OVERPASS!!!!!  ((knowing that they aren’t going to use it for bus fare))

Most cities I have been to do not have a central hub in the downtown area.  They use “connector” busses to run from remote hubs to get to the downtown area.  I don’t know what “consultant” they used but he evidently didn’t do a lot of looking around before he made his proposal.

To those that have moved to an area specifically to be close to a bus route….Did you NOT think that maybe, JUST MAYBE, over the years, that things could change????  I cannot agree with all the complaints over moving a few bus routes because they aren’t well used.  Should the bus service continue running the same route because two or three people use it in the morning or afternoon?????  I think not.

I, for one, will be happy when this city FINALLY gets to the point where EVERYTHING doesn’t revolve around what goes on downtown.  It’s not the ONLY area in this city.

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