With fare hikes and service cuts becoming close to inevitable for mass transportation systems, senior citizens and the disabled seem to be taking the brunt of the blow.
Although fixed-route prices for seniors and the disabled have remained free or been raised to a moderate, low price, paratransit services have had to be raised significantly or cut altogether in many areas of the nation.
Obviously, this is a serious problem for these communities, since many rely solely on paratransit services because they are unable — for various reasons — to use the normal day-to-day services. Cutting these services limits their accessibility to the everyday things, — grocery shopping, recreation and doctors appointments to name a few — which we may sometimes take for granted.
Part of the reason paratransit services are being cut is that an agency’s cost to provide the service far exceeds the money they are taking in from the customer. It would be easy to say that agencies should just raise the fares for paratransit, but when you take into account who these customers are, asking them to pay more probably isn’t a viable solution.
So, what are you doing to try to maintain vital paratransit services at your agency?
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.