Explaining Public Transit to the Public


It’s not something you hear often in transit-rich areas, but in cities and towns across the U.S., the specter of the “empty bus” looms large.

Jarrett Walker at Network Blog Human Transit points us to a video from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, in west-central Florida, which has produced a series of educational shorts on how its buses work. The latest episode of “Bus Buzz” addresses the myth of the empty bus. Using video from bus security cameras, a PSTA spokesperson explains how ridership ebbs and flows depending on the route and time of day.

This ingenious public relations campaign would translate well to most any transit system, regardless of size. With so many transit agencies trying to improve service, often while suffering from budget woes, there’s plenty of fodder for this kind of public outreach.

Elsewhere today: The Wash Cycle dissects the arguments in favor of a bill that would make bike helmets mandatory in Maryland; Bike Portland gauges reaction to President Obama’s pick for Interior secretary; and Green Lane Project Blog examines how cyclist stress influences bike maps.

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Rebutting the “Empty Bus” Argument Against Transit

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From Jarrett Walker over at Human Transit comes some very useful ammunition in the battle of reasonable people against knee-jerk transit-bashers. Walker begins his post by quoting from a story in Canada’s National Post headlined "Save the Environment: Don’t Take Transit." The article posits that because many buses run empty for much of the day, […]
Photo: Urban Phoenix

Making The Bus An Easier Choice

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Whether you choose to ride a bus or you rely on the bus, removal of the barriers to practical and comfortable access to public transit will always increase ridership. Make the choice easier and people will choose it more often.

Bus vs. Rail: Transit’s Quiet Culture Clash?

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The question of running buses or building rail has preoccupied transit planners in many an American town, with Maryland’s Montgomery County being the latest locality to choose between trains and bus rapid transit (BRT), which tends to be the less expensive option. Bogota’s Transmilenio BRT has won praise for its roomy coaches and well-designed stations. […]

Obama Administration to Award $775M for Bus Transit Upgrades

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The Obama administration plans to award $775 million in bus transit grants this summer, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) chief Peter Rogoff announced yesterday during a transit industry conference in Ohio. Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff (in hard hat) (Photo: WaPo) The bus grants are aimed at shoring up aging equipment and helping cash-strapped localities modernize […]