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Reimagine RTS moves into next phase

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The first phase of Reimagine RTS, an effort to plan for the future of the region's bus system, is complete. And RTS officials expect to release a draft plan in May that'll lay out potential route designs and make recommendations about things such as bus frequency.

During the first phase, RTS and its consultants gathered input from the public and surveyed existing and potential riders about how they use or would like to use the bus. RTS also gave its consultant current operational and ridership data to analyze. The agency and its consultants, using the public input, developed five guiding principals that will be used to develop the upcoming draft network plan, RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said during press conference this morning.

Those principals, as explained by Carpenter, are:
  • Maximize ridership. The agency is setting a goal to increase the number of RTS bus boardings;
  • Enhance the customer experience. One of RTS's consultants recommends that the agency try to have buses arrive at stops on key routes every 15 minutes. The agency wants to decrease rider wait times and travel times;
  • Ensure system sustainability. Basically, the agency wants to try to decrease the net cost per bus passenger, which is a measure of efficiency;
  • Expand public transit options to include more mobility options. "A 40-foot bus doesn't have to be the only option," Carpenter said. The network plan could include routes served by smaller buses or programs such as van pools. RTS and its consultants will also emphasize tying routes and stops to transportation options such as ride sharing services and bike sharing;
  • Coordinate with community initiatives. RTS wants to make sure it's working with other governments and groups when their efforts involve mass transit, such as the City of Rochester's transit-supportive development effort.
In addition to recommending a 15-minute frequency for bus arrivals, one of the consultants recommends that RTS develop some cross-town routes that don't require transferring at the downtown transit center, Carpenter said.

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