Rural transit getting a closer look

Posted on May 18, 2012 by Nicole Schlosser

Last month, for a story that’s coming out in our June issue, I spoke with managers of rural transit agencies in Maine, Vermont and Minnesota. I wanted to get a better idea of how these systems differ from the urban ones we report on all the time. I asked about their operations, the technology they’re using to be more efficient, and the challenges they struggle with and how they’re coping with them.

While people seeking transportation in rural areas may be slightly different than urban transit riders in that more of them need medical transportation and tend to be captive riders — they can’t afford a car and distances between places are too far for biking — many of the issues that rural systems contend with are the same: rising fuel costs, funding and increasing demand, particularly for paratransit service.

Often, after wrapping up a story, I find a topic stays with me, and I wish I could go back and expand on a story, or continue to explore it from a different angle that might be of more interest to readers, or attract different readers. I’ll find more information that would have been perfect to include in that story I just turned in.

This time around, I came across a story from Oregon Public Broadcasting about some ways that rural transit systems in the Pacific Northwest are getting creative with their services to draw more riders, including starting a route to a winery and equipping buses with ski racks for winter trips to the slopes. There was also a story from Vermont Public Radio about a collaboration between Addison County Transit Resources and Chittenden County Transportation Authority to create a commuter route through a rural area. If I had more time, I would have liked to have found out more from these agencies about their projects.

This is a topic that I will be delving into further with not only a feature in the fall, but also our upcoming paratransit survey. While it may not seem to be directly related, many rural systems have a large paratransit component that is continuing to grow. If you are a paratransit operator, look for our survey to arrive in your inbox very soon. I hope to find out as much as I can for both of these stories and if you have any insights or ideas, I would love to hear from you.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "Lights! Camera! Transit!" here.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More From the Editor's Blog Posts

June 26, 2019

Focusing on ‘abilities’ gives those with disabilities a ‘sense of purpose’

I recently learned about a program offered by Transport for London that provides “people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and those on the autism spectrum the chance to gain skills and work experience.”

February 12, 2019

Come Together to Shut Down the Shutdown, Fund a Transit Bill

As I write this, we are a few days away from another potential government shutdown if negotiations on border security are not hammered out.

December 19, 2018

New Year, New Hopes for the Motorcoach Industry

Hiring and retaining drivers is the greatest challenge facing motorcoach operators, according to 70% of respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. The public transit industry is not immune to this issue either.

November 6, 2018

When voting 'yes' says 'no' to funding for transportation

I’m crossing my fingers that by the time you read this, the proposition repealing California’s gas tax and vehicle fees (SB 1) will have failed.

July 2, 2018

Lest we forget, we are all human beings

As you may know, I like to use this column to draw attention to transportation-related issues that are important to me, such as climate change, accessibility, and innovation.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (1)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation