JEFFTRAN undergoes operational analysis
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's transit system, JEFFTRAN, wrapped up a series of six public meetings on Wednesday.
JEFFTRAN Director Mark Mehmert said the goal is to look at JEFFTRAN's operations and schedules, and to "try and compare us to other peer cities and take a look at other transit operations and see how we compare to them."
Mehmert said the number one request at the meetings was for longer evening hours and weekend hours. JEFFTRAN currently runs an 11.5 hour day that ends around 6 p.m. Those hours "sometimes leave folks stranded," Mehmert said.
Robert Innis, with Innis Consulting Group, said, "Six o'clock is just not meeting the needs of riders and employers."
There was a lot of talk about partnership at the public meetings, both with Lincoln University and employers in the area. Mehmert said this is a possibility for the future.
He said relationships with employers can range from providing a bus shelter outside a place of business to offering compensation to employees to avoid parking congestion.
"Congestion is something that drives transit," Mehmert said.
Ridership declined 3.6 percent last year. Mehmert said that has to do with lower fuel prices and changing demographics.
Infrastructure consultants The Lochmueller Group partnered with JEFFTRAN to study possible solutions. Its chief of transit planning and economics, said the goal is to develop a "medium range, five-year plan" for improved funding and ridership.
Mehmert said stops may be added to or pulled from the route. JEFFTRAN will determine that through an automatic passenger counter that will be installed in the near future.
Mehmert said, "resources are always finite" so it is likely JEFFTRAN will be looking for places to "tighten up" to add enact recommendations from the study. He said funding decisions will be made at the city council level.
JEFFTRAN used federal funding for the study and the cost was around $75,000.
The study will wrap up in late October.