BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Build better transit, is what Get Bus is trying to do through a multi-year study to help improve the quality of public transportation here locally.
“Our system hasn’t really been evaluated or really looked at in over 10 years. So, we are taking this as a fresh approach to meet those evolving travel needs of today,” said Ricardo Perez the transit planner.
The study by Get Bus is focused on accessing public transit today, finding where the gaps are, and addressing them. The goal is to develop long-term solutions over the next three years. One of the groups contacted by Get Bus to put these solutions together is an international consulting firm called IBI. They said they have already been collecting input and are analyzing ridership and other numbers as well.
“The study is also looking at transport for older adults, and people with disabilities and what improvements might we be able to look at for the on-demand paratransit service,” said Steve Wilks, associate with the IBI group.
A crucial part of being able to find out what needs to be fixed is getting input from riders on what they want to see. So, this initial part of the study is all about collecting comments, suggestions, and feedback.
“It takes a village to figure out what to do,” Leasa Engel Get Bus board member.
Through meetings, surveys and just speaking to community members, people have been sharing issues like limited routes, buses not being frequent enough or just being in an area without access to public transportation.
“Some of the comments we’re hearing is, well I can’t get to the bus and that speaks to what the industry refers to as first-last mile type solutions. How do we take the mobility to the community,” said Wilks.
At the public comment meeting Wednesday evening, community members also spoke about challenges with routes, and lack of accessibilities for people with disabilities.
“There may be things that somebody says, I wish this would’ve happened or I wish we could do that and until they say those things out loud, they’ll never happen,” said Engel.
So, if you do want to have your voice heard, you can fill out the build better transit survey on the get bus website. Officials said that by the end of the month, they will analyze the responses from the survey and share draft plans in more public workshops, early next year.
“It’s important to get community input because we are not wishing to impose the service on folks, we really want this to be community-led,” said Perez.