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torgo

ITP - The Rapid

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Our mass transit system is better than most, and last year they won the Outstanding Transit System award from the American Public Transportation Association. This is a continuaton of the conversation we were having in the Alticor thread, so I thought I'd start a new one.

How do you think the system could be improved? And what do you think it would take to get people to choose the bus over driving a car? I think some kind of free DASH for everyone would be super-awesome. I also think that the system should somehow be faster, but I don't know if that is possible given the nature of mass transit and current development patterns in the greater GR area. My intent is to focus on buses since that is what we have right now.

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I think some kind of free DASH for everyone would be super-awesome.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Aren't the DASH buses already free? Or are you talking about the DASH parking lots?

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Aren't the DASH buses already free?  Or are you talking about the DASH parking lots?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It is my understanding that it is free to those who park in dash lots, which cost like $40 a month. I was thinking of something that stays in the immediate downtown and has stops every couple of blocks, as dash stops are more infrequent and they run farther out from the downtown area.

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"How do you think the system could be improved?"

By the having the buses run more frequently on a given route. It's maddening to wait 30 to 35 minutes for the next bus on the route. Not very typical of a "cool city."

"what do you think it would take to get people to choose the bus over driving a car?"

The person who solves this problem will win the Nobel Prize. I don't know what it will finally take to crowbar people out of their cars. Higher gas prices don't seem to decrease the instance of ONE person per vehicle on the highway.

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"How do you think the system could be improved?"

By the having the buses run more frequently on a given route. It's maddening to wait 30 to 35 minutes for the next bus on the route. Not very typical of a "cool city."

"what do you think it would take to get people to choose the bus over driving a car?"

The person who solves this problem will win the Nobel Prize. I don't know what it will finally take to crowbar people out of their cars. Higher gas prices don't seem to decrease the instance of ONE person per vehicle on the highway.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think if gas tops $3 people might start making a little more racket. I think time is the biggest issue for most people. If I were to take the bus to work from my house, it would be about a 45 minute trip, at least. I can drive there in 10 minutes.

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I think if gas tops $3 people might start making a little more racket.  I think time is the biggest issue for most people.  If I were to take the bus to work from my house, it would be about a 45 minute trip, at least.  I can drive there in 10 minutes.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I just dont know how to feel sorry for people who bought huge cars and live miles outside the city where they work. We have both India and China becoming greater users of oil and gas with only the same amount available worldwide. Did anyone expect supply and demand to take a vacation? One of the reasons I chose to live in Heritage Hill is because its close to work, school and is a short trip at most to the grocery store. Many days I walk to work or take my bike. I make only occasional trips further away with my car only if I need somthing. Gas prices for me are not even on my radar unless you count the higer prices at the store due to shipping cost and the cost for heat this winter.

I understand that taking the bus is not as convienent as taking the car. But soon It will come to the point that if the prices dont fall soon, many people will have to suck it up and learn the ITP schedule or pay through the nose for that driving convience. Its a sad fact, but the founding fathers did not pen a right to cheap gas so Its pay or stay with the car unless some new forms of fuel hits the market soon. Besides, the bus isnt a bad ride at all. I enjoyed taking it to GVSU in Allendale as a student. It cut down on fuel cost and the stress of driving M-45. :thumbsup:

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I just dont know how to feel sorry for people who bought huge cars and live miles outside the city where they work. We have both India and China becoming greater users of oil and gas with only the same amount available worldwide. Did anyone expect supply and demand to take a vacation? One of the reasons I chose to live in Heritage Hill is because its close to work, school and is a short trip at most to the grocery store. Many days I walk to work or take my bike. I make only occasional trips further away with my car only if I need somthing. Gas prices for me are not even on my radar unless you count the higer prices at the store due to shipping cost and the cost for heat this winter.

I understand that taking the bus is not as convienent as taking the car. But soon It will come to the point that if the prices dont fall soon, many people will have to suck it up and learn the ITP schedule or pay through the nose for that driving convience. Its a sad fact, but the founding fathers did not pen a right to cheap gas so Its pay or stay with the car unless some new forms of fuel hits the market soon. Besides, the bus isnt a bad ride at all. I enjoyed taking it to GVSU in Allendale as a student. It cut down on fuel cost and the stress of driving M-45.  :thumbsup:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, but one thing I would like to point out is that the GVSU route is by far the cleanest and nicest to ride. I've ridden every route many times, and none of them are as clean or as fast as Route 50. :)

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I do like the automated announcements when the bus reaches each stop. It seems very professional and "big city".

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say the local media outlets are poaching stories from us:

GVSU drives bus use increase

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- Public transportation is hip at Grand Valley State University, where students, staff and faculty can flash their school ID and ride free.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss...8170.xml&coll=6

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I do like the automated announcements when the bus reaches each stop.  It seems very professional and "big city".

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I like them too, they helped me when I wasn't paying attention to where we were. The drivers are required to sound those things off at most major intersections.

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  I do like the automated announcements when the bus reaches each stop. It seems very professional and "big city".

I think they're good for tourists as well. I hate in when I'm riding the train and they dont announce the next stop. I want to panic that I'm gonna miss my stop and end up lost or I have to turn around and add 20 minutes to my travel time waiting for the next train. I'm not making this up, I will miss my stop on a regular basis.

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I think they're good for tourists as well.  I hate in when I'm riding the train and they dont announce the next stop.  I want to panic that I'm gonna miss my stop and end up lost or I have to turn around and add 20 minutes to my travel time waiting for the next train.  I'm not making this up, I will miss my stop on a regular basis.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Do you think there are that many tourists who ride the bus?

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Was in the transit center neighborhood yesterday on an errand, and had a few extra moments to check it out (you can't drive in of course), and I was suitably impressed by design and concept....

BUT, the streets all around the transit center are in some of the worst condition in the whole of downtown grand rapids--deep ruts, potholes, junk lying around, loose bricks in paver sections--I couldn't believe it.

I even observed some busses driving into the transit center, and noticed that even with their heavy shocks they were bouncing up and down like a trampoline negotiating these sick streets--

I wonder if our GR minorities have the same perception about how the city fathers view their street needs compared to Dick De Vos's needs in front of the Amway and convention center as the minorities of New Orleans have toward their governmental leaders' priorities, lol...

Seriously, someone needs to get their street department priorities in gear and fix that mess...

:huh:

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I agree with those that point out time as a factor. To many time is money...I find it hard to justify a 45 minute trip when I could drive to the same place in 10 minutes. I do not think there is really a way to solve that issue.

I would LOVE to see some sort of express routes from key locations in the City to downtown on the weekends. I would also love to see some express routes from key locations in the city to places like the airport, or even the beach.

We have talked a lot about light rail, but how cool would it be if one could hop on a bus to a train station, and then take the train to the beach for the day?

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I have to say that I have been very impressed with the RAPID. I have been taking the bus to work everyday and it is completely dependable. The drivers are polite and the busses are clean and run on time. And yes, the automatic annoucements are a lot like the ones on the T in Boston (reminds me of home!).

Unfortunately, I think that the RAPID is doing the best it can do given its resources. I believe the problem here is not a Supply side issue. It is a Demand question. There are a few ways that Demand for the RAPID can be increased.

1.) Somehow taking public transportation needs to become hip. Perhaps the Rapid should advertise more in coffee shops, etc. and more businesses should enourage their employees to the ride the RAPID (perhaps by making them pay for parking!). Or, how about commercials on TV with cool kids listening to their IPODS or working on their laptops while on the bus! The GVSU story is encouraging.

2.) Traffic must increase and people must become frustrated with the traffic jams and backups. This is a sort of situation where people must know what its like to have to sit in crawling traffic for 40 minutes each way, before they are willing to switch to public transit. When this happens they will prefer to let someone else do the driving.

3.) Gas prices must go up. The government must tax gas more. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal is recommending that gas must be taxed more if we are to avoid an massive energy crises on a global scale.

Anyway, these are my two cents,... its back to work now.

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more businesses should enourage their employees to the ride the RAPID (perhaps by making them pay for parking!).

When can this happen? Why do employers here pay for parking when in other cities people are responsible for themselves?

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Somehow taking public transportation needs to become hip. Perhaps the Rapid should advertise more in coffee shops, etc. and more businesses should enourage their employees to the ride the RAPID (perhaps by making them pay for parking!). Or, how about commercials on TV with cool kids listening to their IPODS or working on their laptops while on the bus! The GVSU story is encouraging.

Whatever happened to the cool radio commercials the rapid used to run, sort of the "guy noir" type saying how he met cool chicks and experienced interesting slices of life while riding the rapid--i loved those--same sort of image as turner classic movies...

:thumbsup:

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Whatever happened to the cool radio commercials the rapid used to run, sort of the "guy noir" type saying how he met cool chicks and experienced interesting slices of life while riding the rapid--i loved those--same sort of image as turner classic movies...

:thumbsup:

You liked those?!?! I thought they were just awful! :P I think The Rapid's ads should be more like "Dont you hate sitting in traffic? Dont you hate paying so much for gas? Sometimes isnt finding a place to park downtown a hassle? That's why you should ride the Rapid....just sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving." The focus should be more on convenience, cost, and praticality and less on being "cool". Thats my $.02

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More businesses should enourage their employees to the ride the RAPID (perhaps by making them pay for parking! <snip> Traffic must increase and people must become frustrated with the traffic jams and backups. <snip> Gas prices must go up. The government must tax gas more

Argh! :wacko:

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Whatever happened to the cool radio commercials the rapid used to run, sort of the "guy noir" type saying how he met cool chicks and experienced interesting slices of life while riding the rapid--i loved those--same sort of image as turner classic movies...

:thumbsup:

hmmmmmm (another avenue for meeting the lady types)

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1.) Somehow taking public transportation needs to become hip. Perhaps the Rapid should advertise more in coffee shops, etc. and more businesses should enourage their employees to the ride the RAPID (perhaps by making them pay for parking!). Or, how about commercials on TV with cool kids listening to their IPODS or working on their laptops while on the bus! The GVSU story is encouraging.

Definitely. Area universities and Rapid have been doing some nice collaboration to encourage student ridership. Fare is free for GVSU students and 50 cents for Calvin College students. And during orientation at Calvin, the Rapid gave fre rides to all incoming freshmen to Eastown, Heartside, Garfield Park, Baxter, etc for community service projects.

Myself, I really enjoy doing the bus/bike option. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn't always allow it.

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How do you think the system could be improved?

I was riding home last night from an event at church in a monsoon! What did I see on the corner of Hall and Eastern? An elderly lady waiting for the bus with some shopping bags in her hand and a small umbrella trying to stay dry. I would have offered her a ride if I wasn't afraid of being considered a perv.

The Rapid needs better bus stops in key areas to encourage folks to ride!!!

Although I despise 28th street and avoid it like the plague, the bus stops along this route are totally impossible to use in the winter when all of the strip malls pile snow from their parking lots 3 stories high.

OK rant over.

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I definitely think that the shelters should be kept cleaner and there should be more of them. Although I also know that all that costs money, and when they have and extra budget, they usually look to expand/add routes or make routes more frequent. As long as ridership increases, the service will get continually better

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