The cities and RTA should straighten up the routes to attract riders.
Looking to get more people to ride its local buses, the Riverside Transit Agency
launched a promotional campaign for the Murrieta and Temecula area
which allows local residents and employees to try out the bus for free
during the month of October. RTA ran ads in local newspapers and mailed
out flyers in the area.
Each ad had a coupon good toward an RTA day pass which could be redeemed
aboard two of the area's local bus lines, Route 23 or 24. Both routes
have seen substantial ridership gains; however, productivity performance
for these routes
remains a bit lackluster.
Fix the Circuitous Bus Routes:
Local area bus riders have attested in the past that both of these routes are extremely long and slow, or more accurately,
very circuitous. Circuitous local bus routes have many loops and
extensions, are difficult to understand, and use excessive resources.
This explains why Routes 23 and 24 averaged less than 8.5 passenger
boardings per hour combined with
a high subsidy-per-passenger rate during the month of August despite the
reported ridership gains.
Studies Back Straighter Bus Routing:
Two 2007 studies,
one federal, confirm that Murrieta's and Temecula's bus routes
should be more direct. However, one doesn't even need these studies as
RTA System Map already shows the overwhelmingly circuitous nature of
Routes 23 and 24 and local trips between southern Temecula and northern
Murrieta can last in excess of 1 1/2 to 2 hours according to RTA route
Here's the reality: No choice rider would want to spend well over
an hour aboard a bus for a 5-7 mile local trip. If RTA and the local
cities desire to incline more patrons to ride the bus in Southwest
Riverside County, each of the public
entities must consider ways to
simplify and streamline the area's local bus routes to offer more
direct and bidirectional connections while also reducing unproductive
costs and maintaining local transit mobility. Streamlined bus routing
with through-service at the
proposed Twin Cities Transit Center and timed transfers to connecting
routes would significantly speed up trips. Travel times between major
activity centers would then be reduced dramatically. That's how the
public can be inclined to
patronize the local bus system.