BAKERSFEILD, Calif. (KERO) — Public transportation is facing an uphill battle staying competitive in the modern age with more and more transportation options becoming available. That’s why Golden Empire Transit bus will be holding a public forum this evening to find out what transportation needs the public values most.
“We’re open to a variety of suggestions,” said GET Bus CEO Karen King.
Before the pandemic, Golden Empire Transit like many other transit agencies saw a consistent increase in ridership. In October 2019, GET’s on-demand program “RYDE” saw a record high of 126 custom trips in one day. But amid the pandemic, the market for public transit has weakened.
“Through the pandemic, people who used our service have changed their desires of what it might be,” King said.
Since the start of the pandemic, get has reduced services down 2/3 due to less demand.
“They’re getting a ride with a neighbor or they’ve purchased a used vehicle,” King said.
Used vehicle sales skyrocketed during the pandemic. according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, used vehicle prices increased 4.9% in the first 15 days of November 2021 compared to the month of October and a 44.9% increase from November 2020.
“How we get those people back to public transit is a real challenge,” King said.
Since a return to pre-pandemic transit seems far off in the distance GET is looking for new possibilities in an evolving context. Suggestions GET is open to addressing include:
- Extending to new areas.
- Finding new developments.
- Increasing frequency of services.
- Expanding their on-demand services.
“Figure out which are the ones we could best implement in the next one to three years,” King said.
GET is looking at creative options to entice riders, like the city’s implementation of e-bikes and e-scooters offering people easy short-range transportation to bus stops. They’re also working with IBI — an international research and marketing consulting group — to learn more ways they can improve their services.
If you have any suggestions, you can provide feedback during their public forum this evening from 4:30 to 6 p.m. You can attend in person or online For those who choose to attend in person, the meeting will take place in the GET Board Room, 1830 Golden State Ave. Alternatively, you can participate virtually by Zoom here.
There is also a Community Survey available online. The community survey is available here.