Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Riverside Transit Agency moves forward with Big Transit Improvements

Photo: Riverside Transit Agency
The Riverside Transit Agency has long been promising to bring to reality long-overdue improved bus service based on its short range plans. One set of specific improvements is inching its way closer. Before we get too excited, please note that we are at the public hearing phase and that proposals can change at the last minute. Until such improvements land in RTA's Ride Guide and published schedules, don't consider them final just yet. Advocacy to improve RTA's transit system must continue.

Public Hearing Period between now and the March 27 Board Meeting

RTA is currently holding a public comment period for several service span improvements between now and the March 27 Board of Directors Meeting for several specific routes. The improvements can be credited toward the fact that Riverside County's market economy is slowly ticking up, mostly in the logistics and medical sectors. Also, RTA has 1.5 million in federal money that can be spent toward many of the improvements through the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program.  

Photo: Riverside Transit Agency
Here's a rundown of the proposed RTA service improvements:
  • Route 1 - Route will no longer bypass the Corona Transit Center. An additional bus will be added to the route to maintain weekday 15-18 minute service frequency and weekend 30 minute service frequency.
  • Route 3 - Later span with two additional trips each way. New Saturday service with 40-45 minute headways starting at 6:30am. Last buses to depart during the 6pm hour.
  • Route 61 - New Saturday service with service about every hour starting at 6:30am. Last buses to depart during the late 5pm or early 6pm hour.
  • Route 74 - New Saturday service with service every 1 1/4 hours starting at 6:30am. Last buses to depart during the late 5pm or early 6pm hour.
  • Route 79 - New Saturday service with service every hour starting at 6:30am. Last buses to depart during the late 5pm or early 6pm hour.
  • CommuterLink 206, 208, 210, and 212 - Additional peak-hour trips timed with the four additional 91 Line Metrolink trains.
  • CommuterLink 216 - Two additional weekday trips each way.
Many of these proposals are long overdue and more improvements on top of the ones proposed will be needed as the economy improves. In addition, RTA plans to phase out a temporary parking lot shuttle dubbed Route 54 as it will no longer be needed. We'll take a detailed look at each proposal and provide some straight-talk of how each will improve Inland Empire mass transit. Be sure to get your comments and suggestions into RTA in time for the March 27 hearing.

Photo: Riverside Transit Agency
Also, don't forget that "public hearings" never close here at The Transit Coalition nor for RTA's Transportation Now meetings. There are of course other routes that are deserving of improved service. Be sure to take the time and tell us so that top officials become informed of your needs. Improving RTA's transit system will be an ongoing project.

Footnote: JARC funds are designated by the Federal Transit Administration to fund transportation services for welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment. According the feds, this would include addressing transit service for corridors that have a sufficient volumes of entry level-job positions where employees work evenings, nights, and weekends. Even though JARC funds address specific groups, the late night and expanded Saturday transit service will benefit the general public as a whole.

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