While buses on some routes are empty, other parts of the city, such as the Wal-Mart on South Sixth and north-end mobile home communities, need bus service, according to Thomas Wittmann, transit division manager for Perteet Inc., a Seattle engineering firm hired to evaluate the transit district's bus service.
is in the early stages of evaluating service.
If changes to routes are made, there will be more meetings and public hearings.
The district might be ready to change service as early as next summer, Wittmann
said, but a year from now is more likely.
The district's historic sites route stands out as a loser, at least from a transportation expert's point of view.
Besides having few riders, said Wittmann
, who based his
analysis on riding buses last May, the schedule is confusing.
"I'm a transit professional - I can't figure it out," Wittmann
told the transit district board during a Wednesday meeting.
"It's one of the lowest-performing routes that you have."
Wittman also said the Indian Hills neighborhood on the city's northeast side is served by buses, even though Perteet
found that just one passenger a day rides the route.
, whose company also surveyed riders, said the transit board should consider eliminating such routes and consolidating others in order to establish bus service to places riders say they want to go.
For instance, there's a demand for service to areas along West Wabash Avenue, he
While some of those areas are outside the district's borders, Wittmann
suggested that fees from AT&T
, Wells Fargo
and other large employers in that area could be used in lieu of property taxes.
"The city of Springfield has grown," Wittmann
"Bus service has not grown with it."
pointed to routes on South 11th, 13th and 15th streets as candidates for consolidation.
By consolidating those three routes onto South 11th Street, he said, riders might have to walk three more blocks to catch a bus, but then they'd be able to ride to Wal-Mart on South Sixth.
One thing Springfield can be proud of, Wittmann
said: More than 90 percent of SMTD buses run on time.
Bus systems in other parts of the country are typically where they're supposed to be 70 percent of the time, he
"Most systems in the country would kill to have a 93-percent on-time rate," Wittmann