Public Transit Planning Advisory Committee - Minutes

Mon., Mar. 13, 2017

Transit Advisory Committee members in attendance were Juli Gregory, Jason Edmiston, Cindy Schaan (arrived at 4:11pm), Doug Primmer (arrived at 4:52), Barb Martin, and Jennifer Roberts. Rod Hardin, Dean Fialka, and Kristi Avery were not present. Also present were Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, CTUIR Planning Director JD Tovey, CTUIR Scheduling Coordinator Susan Johnson, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong.

Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan opened the meeting at 4:08pm

KAYAK Update

Susan presented and reviewed ridership statistics with the Committee at each stop for the months of January and February. Due to the unusual winter weather, KAYAK cancelled many service days for the first 2 months in operation. January had 13 days of bus service and provided 313 rides. February had 18 days of bus service and provided 458 rides.

JD stated after reviewing ridership throughout all of KAYAK provided services, there was a total of 40% less riders during the last few months of this year, compared to this same time frame last year. JD stated he believes this is due to the intense winter weather as not many people wanted to brave the harsh weather conditions.   

(Cindy Schaan arrived 4:11pm)

There was some discussion regarding how the weather road conditions are assessed and who determines if the route will be ran or cancelled.

JD stated they assess the road and weather conditions but also get feedback from their drivers, as safety is their number one priority.

The committee felt that although the weather prevented two full months of operation there was still an impressive amount of ridership during this time frame.

Scheduling and Routing

Susan stated she believes there would be more ridership if there were 6 routed stops instead of 4, or if the bus traveled in both directions; because, as of right now, it takes more than 1 hour in-between each stop and people do not want to wait that long.

JD suggested that the Committee not drastically change the route as this is new to the community and only the 1st quarter. Changing the route at this point could turn people off to the service. JD stated they are also trying to work with the public to overcome the 1st time fear of riding the bus.

Juli stated she has had clients ride the bus with their workers just to experience it and know what to expect, and this has worked out well. Some of the comments they have heard are:

  • The signs are to small
  • Enjoyed the ride
  • It takes a long time for the bus to come around
  • Expand time frame to after 4:00pm.

Mark stated Kristi Avery has also commented to him that the Eastern Oregon Support Service Brokerage is also training their clients to ride the bus as well.

Mark and JD discussed and informed the Committee regarding the marketing tools they have used to inform the public about the free bus service, to include:

  • Radio
  • Website
  • Newspaper
  • Placing about 450 door hangers within lower income neighborhoods that were close to bus stops and could really benefit from this service
  • Etc

After some discussion, the Committee felt that compressing the schedule down to one-hour loops to be able to have six stops instead of four per day would be ideal and a benefit; but it would be best to wait until the Committee met again during the Fall quarterly meeting to review ridership information through the summer and determine the continued viability of all of the stops.

It was discussed that a Rapid Flashing Beacon and protected pedestrian crossing will be added in 2018 on 11th near the Hospital to connect the Hospital to the Oxbow Trail, and could make the Hospital Stop a viable location for riders to access the trail system in a way that doesn’t add substantial time to the route.          

Grant Funding

JD gave financial information regarding grants, start up fees, and current needs. JD stated it is difficult to give a full picture regarding the financial aspects of this program as it is so new and there is no history to look back at.

(Doug Primmer arrived 4:52pm)

JD stated there may be additional funding available to add a part-time employee to extend the hours of daily operation, or to add a Saturday service day. This person could also help fill in during vacation times of the other driver, and do maintenance and clean-up, etc.

There was also some discussion regarding bus stop enclosures with seating, and dealing with the graffiti that comes along with these enclosed bus stops. The Committee discussed a good remedy would be to have more visible bus stop signs and encourage businesses to make their own bus stop areas that they would maintain themselves. JD stated there are also special grant funding for these types of bus stops and will reach out to business like Good Shepard Hospital, Wal-Mart and Fiesta Foods to see if they are interested in participating in these grants.

Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting will be Monday, May 22nd at 4:00pm to review ridership information. Susan will also be emailing monthly ridership information to the Committee for their review.

There was no other business and the meeting was adjourned at 5:10pm.

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