Changing the System

Often times, you’ll hear users of public transit complain that the people who are behind the design of the system are screwing them over, because the designers don’t use the transit themselves and don’t have to care about the “needs of the people.” It goes hand-in-hand with the usual NIMBY attitudes that are prevalent everywhere, but regardless. What most fail to consider is that a lot of thought goes into the design of a transit system. Beyond the modes used, decisions have to be made about vehicles, costs, traffic impacts, demand, low-income needs, commuter needs, and so much more. The sad truth is that everything costs money. (Where that money comes from is a whole different discussion.) With the way things are today, more and more transit agencies are having to make tough choices to cut back service, lay off employees, or even shut down completely. It’s not something I personally keep track of, but I believe there’s been a few this year that bit the dust. More famously, Colorado Springs (pop. 416,427) eliminated all evening and weekend service on January 1st, 2010. Earlier this year, they were able to reinstate some of it, though it is nowhere near the pre-recession levels.

If you’ve ever heard the term Armchair Architect (or really any other infrastructure related job), you know that there are always those people who “know” how things should be done. Few truly do. Of those few, how many do you think would actually go through and show why they believe their idea is the right one?

On the 29th, Ben Franklin Transit started running the new schedules as part of the September Schedule Changes. (In bus driver jargon, the “Fall Shakeup.”) I’m saving the post on that for later next week (this week technically), but if I were to use one word to describe it, I’d have to say “disaster.” While I was multitasking a Twitter conversation with @TransitGuru and trying to sift through the whole mess of the new schedules, I started thinking more and more about what I would do to change the BFT system for the better. And so I started building schedules and drawing…

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the picture I posted, which was an early draft of local service in Richland/West Richland. The map is just a little bit bigger now. It’s probably going to turn into one of the projects where I’ll always be working on it, fine tuning and tweaking everything. Eventually, I know I’ll reach a point where I’m satisfied with it’s current state and post it for public viewing. But for the time being, I won’t do that. However, I will put a list of the “hypothetical” routes (in their current form) and some info about them below. If you view it alongside the official system map of Ben Franklin Transit, it’ll probably be a bit easier to understand. (At the time of posting, the link brings you to the August 2011 version of the map. I don’t know when someone will get it updated.)

And as always, comments and thoughts are welcome, or tweets to @ziggzagzac!

Route 23 – Richland Local: Jadwin/Stevens Center/Newcomer (no changes)

Route 24 – Richland Local: Thayer/Van Giesen/West Richland TC (replaces the 120 between West Richland TC and Knight Street TC)

Route 25 – Richland Local: Stevens/Wright/Cottonwood (no changes.)

Route 26 – Richland Local: G.W. Way/WSU Tri-Cities/Battelle (no changes)

Route 39 – Richland Local: Wellsian/Wal-Mart/Gage/Grandridge (travel time extended 15 minutes, will pull from Three Rivers at :15/:45)
–Route 39H: Hills West/Broadmoor/Bellerive (add service to area currently served by taxi feeder)
–Route 39K: Keene/Leslie/Rancho Reata (add service to Leslie, turn-around loop through Rancho Reata via Racheal Road and Loranye J Blvd, segment serving Canyon/Bellerive is removed)

Route 40 – Kennewick Local: Columbia/Canal/Hood/Edison (new route, replaces former 120 between Three Rivers TC and Huntington TC. Now runs between Three Rivers TC and Dayton Street TC. Klamath Ave segment removed, new service to Columbia Drive between Fruitland and Washington.)

Route 41 – Kennewick Local: Gum/19th/Olympia (route is now split into two different versions, like the 39, in order to bring back some service to areas abandoned by the consolidation of former routes 45, 46, and 49 into the 41.)
–Route 41E: 45th/Ely/Highway 395 (service brought back to 45th Ave between Olympia and Ely, then covers 19th Ave between Ely and Highway 395)
–Route 41V: 36th/Vancouver/7th (the 41 in it’s current form)

Route 42 – Kennewick Local: 4th/Kellogg (turns off Canal at Grandridge instead of Young)

Route 47 – Kennewick Local: Garfield/27th/Wal-Mart/Union (no changes)

Route 48 – Kennewick Local: Auburn/10th/Columbia Center Blvd (remove deviation on 19th now being served by Route 41E)

Route 50 – CC Rider: Sears/Steptoe/Louisiana/Quinault (outbound no changes, inbound turns off Gage at Louisiana, then onto Quinault straight to Three Rivers TC)

Route 52 – CC Rider: Grandridge/Center Pkwy/JC Penny/Shopko (new route)

Route 60 – Pasco Local: Road 24/Jay/Pearl/5th/Court (outbound no changes, at 5th and Court, heads straight down Court to 22nd Ave, and then to 22nd Ave TC)

Route 62 – Pasco Local: Court/Pasco Intermodal/Columbia/14th (heads east on Court, stops directly at Pasco Intermodal next to the bus platform, then serves Columbia between 4th and 10th, then serves 14th between Clark and Sylvester)

Route 64 – Pasco Local: A/Elm/Alton/Wehe (serves A Street between 20th and Elm, turns around via Alton and Wehe, then heads back to 22nd Ave TC)

Route 65 – Pasco Local: Sylvester/4th/Lewis/Wehe/Adelia/Elm (no changes)

Route 66 – Pasco Local: Sylvester/Road 84/Chapel Hill (no changes)

Route 67 – Pasco Local: Court/Road 44/Burden/Sandifur/Chapel Hill (remove deviation to CBC)

Route 80 – Intercity: Huntington TC/22nd Ave TC/Airport/CBC (new route, replaces former 120 between Kennewick and Pasco, brings direct service to airport, will travel the CBC campus between Saraceno Way/H Building/Theater/Gym/A Building, and then turnaround and head back to 22nd Ave TC from Saraceno Way/Argent)

Route 110 – Intercity: Three Rivers TC/Bombing Range/West Richland TC (travel time extended 15 minutes, add service to Holly/Highlands/Paradise)

Route 120 – Intercity: Knight Street TC/Three Rivers TC/Clearwater/Dayton Street TC (mainline service, uses current 120 between Richland and Kennewick, replaces the 160 between Three Rivers and Dayton)

Route 160 – Intercity: Knight Street TC/Argent/22nd Ave TC/Dayton TC (mainline service, replaces 225 between Richland and Pasco, uses current 160 between Pasco and Kennewick)

Route 170 – Intercity: Knight Street TC/Benton City/Prosser (no changes)

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