Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The F94

In their first posting in months, the planner from the UTA is claiming success for UTA's F94 flex route service. While I agree that the route is providing a service that UTA was willing to abandon, I think success should be measured in different terms that the UTA does.

However, let’s look at the F94 as we have before and see what can be done to make it even more successful. First of all there are a couple of things that is really holding the F94 from being a true success:

First of all, the route only provides every 80 minute service. This makes the service useless for a majority of transit riders thus greatly decreasing how much potential the service has. Second, the route only deviates ¾ of a mile from the route of the old 94 route which makes it too inflexible to truly be called a flex route.

Now take a look at Denver’s Call N Ride system and see how it works. Basically you have cutaway vans based out of a light rail or bus transit station and service is provided a minimum of every 30-minutes (and in my experience the service is much more frequent than every 30-minutes). Call N Ride provides transit service to entire areas providing much better and more convenient service than regular route service could in those places while still providing good connections to the regular route service.

Now let’s take a look at route 525, the former 25 that provides service from TRAX to the Sandy Industrial area and along Monroe. This route would be a perfect route to turn into a Call N Ride route. If people need to be picked up they just give a call or they pick the cutaway van up at the TRAX station. While the Historic Sandy TRAX station may be a little more convenient for this service, traffic along 90th South is just going to get worse so it does make sense to use the Midvale Center TRAX station. The neighborhood will get better bus service with vehicles that make more sense for the area.

Another area were Call N Ride service will make since is along the Daybreak TRAX line. Service could be provided too many areas that currently and will continue to have non-existent bus service. There is areas such as South Jordan and Herriman that regular route service does not work but Call N Ride would make sense.

A side benefit of this type of service is that it can also reduce trips by Paratransit since some Paratransit riders could use regular route service but cannot get to the transit station; this allows them to use the regular route service and still use the mobile van. Considering the financial black hole that even advocates for the physically challenge know Paratransit service to be, reducing any need for Paratransit service makes more service available to all.

The F94 is a start, but to be truly useful transit service it still has a way to go.

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