Community members and WSU students met with Pullman Transit Thursday afternoon at the WSU Visitors Center to discuss newly proposed route changes that could take place this summer and fall 2012.
The meeting started with a presentation of the proposed routes, which include new areas in Pullman that were not previously served with the current route system.
The new South Grand Service would take riders to the north side of town, to campus, as well as to the west of Sunnyside Hill, Pullman Transit Manager Rod Thornton said. There would also be a new Downtown Service that will go through the main arterials of downtown Pullman, he said
Thornton said the two issues with the current transit system are that is it less reliable and it runs behind schedule. He said it is time to redesign the system and their goal is to complete the routes within 25 minutes.
“Every transit system lives on three things; safety, convenience and reliability,” Thornton said.
The current I-Route is a struggle in the afternoon and it is virtually impossible for drivers to stay on time, he said. The new I-Route is designed to maintain service to the Wheatland Mall, Safeway and Walmart.
The new proposal also includes the J-Route being discontinued and the H-Route providing more service to Sunnyside Hill and Pioneer Hill.
Based on the input received from the public, Thornton said they will make a decision soon to go to the city council and make a final proposal. He said they have not ruled out a 45-minute loop for the system yet, but they do want shorter routes for the transit drivers that can make them in time.
“You can’t have a transit system you can’t rely on,” Thornton said.
The meeting also included several transit drivers who talked about their current driving routes. Thornton said they want their drivers to be comfortable in these new routes and not be stressed.
Pullman Transit then took questions from the audience concerning timing issues and biking lanes. Sophomore veterinary medicine major Dordor Vang said her biggest concern with the new system is more time to get from one place to another. With the current schedule, she takes two buses to go to school and one to get home.
She said she understands why they are making changes, but she is worried about waiting another 30 minutes to wait for another bus after getting off one.
“My school schedule is time dependent, but I appreciate them for addressing our concerns,” Vang said.
Bridgette Brady, WSU Parking and Transportation Services director, also attended the meeting and said she is a part of a new pedestrian and bike planning task force that is moving toward an active transportation system.
“Perhaps the plan can help alleviate the demand on the transit system,” Brady said.