Buses Making Time

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 25, 2005

Late afternoon is the most difficult time to get around town because of all the congestion, and it's no exception if you take the bus, no matter how far away you live.

"probably if I drive, about 15 minutes away, but it takes me about an hour to get home [on the bus]," said Janet Musselman who commutes to the university.

That's right, the bus takes her about four times as long in the evenings as it would to drive. CTS officials are working on improving the quality so that:

"When they're waiting at a bus stop, the bus is going to arrive when we say it's going to arrive and it's going to get them to their destination when we say it's going to get there," said Bill Watterson Transit Manager at CTS.

During rush hour, riders said the busses aren't five or ten minutes late, but the they can actually be up to a half hour late, however, hopefully this is about to change.

Officials are one step closer to solidifying the bus schedule now that city council endorsed CTS's proposed major changes affecting routes 5, 7, 10, and the trolley. Changes will begin next summer or early fall 2006 to prevent overlapping and inefficient routes.

In the meantime, there are on-going studies about the helpful of Cue-jumps or Bus lanes. Councilmembers were immediately concerned about losing parking spaces, but during rush hour, many are already empty.

"If the bus is able to move through that coridore quicker than an automobile, it will make people think of transit as an option to driving their own car," said Watterson.

Other future possibilities include opening UTS to the general public and installing "soft pre-emption" technology similar to that in rescue vehicles

"If they're moving greater than three to five miles per hour and the light is green, it will keep it green at least until they go through the intersection," explained City Traffic Engineer Ken Keena.

CTS is still studying these new ideas, but for the 1.3 million riders this year the approved changes won't cost you anymore.

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