A Bus Rider’s Frustration With Transit Planners

Nick Magrino at Streets.mn describes what it’s like to ride the bus in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area: Multiple transfers to get to a destination, waiting environments that seem to be designed to repel people — it can feel like a series of small humiliations.

Riding the bus in Minneapolis can be a series of small humiliations, says Magrino. Image: ##http://www.streets.mn/2013/11/27/embarrassed-by-the-bus/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsmn+%28streets.mn%29## Streets.mn##
A Route 4 bus stop in Minneapolis. Image: ##http://www.streets.mn/2013/11/27/embarrassed-by-the-bus/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsmn+%28streets.mn%29##Streets.mn##

The people doing transit planning where he lives aren’t paying attention to the basics, he says. And he thinks one reason is that they simply don’t ride the bus:

I guess I would be very curious to know how many local policymakers and planners actually use transit on a daily basis. At the moment, the status quo is to do stuff like spend $1.2 billion $1.5 billion on a rail line that minimally improves mobility while at the same time ignoring basic, cheap user experience improvements. We’re making some progress with the trendiest things–lots of new bike facilities, fancy streetcar proposals, and the like. And a receptive Hennepin County looks to be serious about making Washington Avenue more than a car sewer, which is great considering where their transportation department is located.

What percentage of our region’s transit movers and shakers have waited for the Route 5 bus at Nicollet and 7th Street in Downtown Minneapolis on a cold, windy January day and taken it anywhere? Or, one time, given their own bus driver directions? Or stood at the Uptown Transit Station with their little sister, visiting from the suburban East Coast, for a transfer to a Route 6 bus that is never, ever on time? We should find out. The bus is the way that the vast majority of Twin Cities transit users experience the system, and while unabashedly unsexy, it’s important.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Green Caltrain breaks down the recent court decision invalidating the funding plan for California High-Speed Rail. The Oregonian’s Hard Drive interviews new Portland transportation director Leah Treat. And Strong Towns compares street grids around the country, from Little Rock to San Francisco.

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