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JTA Cutting Riverside Trolley Service

In the Summer of 2010, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority expanded the Riverside Trolley from its then current terminus of Five Points to the Shoppes of Avondale. Prior to the relaunch, MetroJacksonville.com Board Members expressed concerns about the headways, route and service periods, and felt the service wouldn't be successful because of these issues. Wednesday, JTA announced that the Riverside Trolley would return to its previous terminus at Five Points, citing the neighborhood's failure to embrace the service.

Published September 23, 2011 in Transit      104 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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Riverside Trolley History

May 2008 - JTA Launches the Riverside Trolley, an attempt to get choice riders (those that own a car but choose to use transit) to use their services during lunchtime from Downtown to Five Points. The service launched with 10 minute headways during the business week from 10:30am to 2:30 pm. The service is well received.

September 2010 - JTA consolidates the Riverside Trolley with the WS1 Bus Route. This change extended the operating hours from 5:00AM to 7:30PM Monday-Saturday, the headways went to 35 minutes weekdays and 70 minutes on Saturday (with 12 minute headways during the weekday lunch), and the route went to Boone Park, just past the Shoppes of Avondale.

December 2011 - Citing low ridership, JTA shortens the route back to a Five Points terminus. The headways will be "approximately 10 minutes, except for Saturdays which will have longer headways". The service hours will remain the same. JTA would not elaborate on the Saturday headways.

According to JTA, approximately 150 people use the service on a daily basis. They explained that because of the low ridership, the service was costing them just over $9 per person.

MetroJacksonville.com's critiques from the September 2010 change

 - The Headways: MetroJacksonville.com cited the long headways outside of lunchtime hours. Specific examples included customers commuting, as a 35 minute headway will take a commute from Avondale to Downtown from 10 minutes by car to up to 50 minutes by trolley (considering that a person could be waiting for up to 35 minutes for a vehicle). MetroJacksonville.com recommended that if shorter headways could not be achieved, the service would be better served ending at King Street with shorter headways. JTA refused to to listen, citing the WS1 consolidation as the reason. What wasn't brought up by JTA at the time was that the WS1 was a poor performing route anyway, so the need to structure it around the existing poor-performing service was minimal.


The Riverside Trolley never attracted the employees of businesses along Riverside Avenue like JTA hoped

 - The Service Times: MetroJacksonville.com cited that a 5:00AM-7:30PM was a poor choice, and that by adjusting the hours to 6:30AM-9:00PM would be better, as folks could use it for dinner during the week. Again, JTA refused to to listen, citing the WS1 consolidation as the reason which, as it turns out, wasn't really an issue.

 - The Route: It was cited that Riverside Avenue wasn't a good choice because of it's southern location, and that Oak Street, just one block further north would be better. Once again, JTA did not consider these issues.


Other Critiques

 - JTA never reached out to the neighborhood when they discovered the service was not performing. Instead they dictated their service cuts to the neighborhood, as if the neighborhood folks had to use the service. JTA did not explain why they didn't reach out to the neighborhood to discuss the service's poor performance.

 - When the service originally launched in 2008, the signage at stops explained the service times, the headways, and the route. When the service was altered in 2010, not only did the new stops not have the new maps/times/headways, the old maps/times/headways were left up at the old stops, confusing riders.


Not only did JTA not re-do the map and headway signs along the reconfigured trolley route in 2010, they left the old (wrong) signs up for weeks after the reconfigured service launched

 - When asked if JTA considered other alternatives to scaling back the service as dramatically as they did, they said yes, however refused to elaborate as to what was considered.

Prediction for the new service

This new service might be a poorer performer than the original Riverside Trolley route. While having the early morning and evening service is nice, not actually having the service extend into the residential areas of the neighborhood could doom the service to failure. The lunchtime riders should remain, but having the same number of riders with longer service times will increase the cost per rider, thus making it a poorer performer.

Conclusion

It's been obvious for years that JTA has little interest in listening to the neighborhood's suggestions. This is just another example of that. For any transit agency, riders in older, pedestrian friendly urban core neighborhoods are usually a gold mine. Not only does JTA not embrace this thought, by setting the service up for failure it makes the neighborhood look transit unfriendly when campaigning for future services. JTA did the same thing with the San Marco Trolley in 2003. For those who don't remember, JTA ran a trolley in a one-direction, 30 minute loop that was poorly received. Turns out people don't always want to turn right by literally making three left turns. This made San Marco out to be a neighborhood that doesn't embrace transit.

In the mobility plan, one of the projects is a streetcar from Downtown to King Street. Will JTA cite poor trolley ridership as opposition for this new service? Perhaps the issue isn't the residents of the neighborhood, but the leadership (or lack thereof) at JTA, and their repeated failed execution of services, particularly services that attempt to attract choice riders into the network.

Update by Steve Congro







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104 Comments

strider

September 23, 2011, 07:36:45 AM
My non expert opinion, coming from what I have read here as well as what some daily riders of the buses tell me is that to have a successful public transportation system, the routes must cheaply and efficiently provide a service those that must use public transportation can easily use.  The "trolley" (just a bus after all) seems directed towards the more well off who may not want to drive that day.  Seems a bit less likely to succeed, especially if it is not super convenient and easy.  The targeted group of riders will not use a hard to understand system or a slow one unless the destination is really worth it or the experience itself (streetcar?) is part of the appeal.

Metrojax seems to have this right - JTA, it seems, needs schooled on public transportation.  The riders also need to be a bit more organized and have a voice to JTA, who I suspect, has always ignored their primary ridership as that group most often gets put on ignore by public officials.

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 07:49:27 AM
Quote
It's been obvious for years that JTA has little interest in listing to the neighborhood's suggestions. This is just another example of that.

I can personally attest to that in a very major way.

Jumpinjack

September 23, 2011, 08:13:46 AM
We rode the trolley mostly during the week days around the 10:00-2:00 time frame. What we saw was that outside of the lunch crowd, the service was very lightly used. MJ is exactly right that there was no effort to market the service to anyone. No promotional stuff for the merchants in Riverside or downtown, the RAM, the hospital, FSCJ. Plus the extended times didn't really fit the community needs.

I'm wondering if JTA will be handling the BRT service in the same half-baked way.

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 08:15:06 AM
Let me also recap what the neighborhood did do:

-Convinced JTA to do a test run at Art Walk-Ridership went through the roof two out of the three times this was tried.  The third time was cold and rainy. I personally ate dinner at Cafe NOLA that night and there were 6 vendors in all of Hemming Plaza and the streets were bare... meaning, no one showed up at Art Walk that night.

-Convinced JTA to get out in the neighborhood and promote the trolley service and run a free service day-Single biggest ridership day they had

-Made the RAP Home Tour part of the Riverside Trolley route-Ridership spikes to very high levels

-Downtown stakeholders meet with JTA about extending service to Bay Street on weekend nights like the Beaches Trolley system gets(who btw averages LESS riders per hour than Riverside Trolley).  JTA never followsup with a promised second meeting.

-Riverside/Avondale advocates meet with JTA regarding several items:
*Thur-Sat evening hours-response was until ridership improves we won't do that

*Eliminate one of the 7 routes that touch Park Street and extend a secondary RT loop on Park so that the RT reaches more people-we already have ample service along Park Street(which is true as long as you want to go to Rosa Parks or the former Normandy Mall)

*A plan in hand with buy-in from local merchants about extending a direct merchant-based transit program with a bulk ticket program(done in other cities btw, with fantastic results in capturing choice riders)-response union bus drivers would never hand out tickets or validate any type of ticket*  BTW, they turned their back on the beaches merchants in year 2 of the Beaches Trolley service and advertising revenue and rideship drops

*A plan for RT-specific month-long discounted passes-response, yes we want to do that, guess we will be waiting for a very long time now that they are eliminating what was the Riverside Trolley.  BTW, the new plan is to terminate the trolley at the new courthouse, not the Landing. 

-It has been said here and said many, many times to JTA by anyone who would speak up... but the route, headways and the terminus at FSCJ were all mistakes and not convenient to anyone.  That was ignored.

-MetroJacksonville demonstrates a successful project with three months straight of successful trolley pub crawls, in part to demonstrate to JTA that evening service connecting vibrant entertainment/commercial nodes together works(as if you can't go to any city with a functioning transit system and witness this).

But hey, these are the smartest guys in the room... nothing to see here, move along.

There are about 5 senior people at JTA that get it.  Otherwise, the senior leadership team needs to be replaced.  And it needs to happen today. 

CG7

September 23, 2011, 08:34:06 AM
That blows. My son rides the trolley home from school everyday, now I guess he will have to walk 1.5 miles home.

thelakelander

September 23, 2011, 09:01:57 AM
What I'm hearing is perhaps instead of trying to be a regional authority, it may be time to focus on getting the basic components right.  Well 2016 will be here before everyone knows it.  With the extension of the gas tax issue hanging over JTA's head, the next few years will be the perfect time to have a public conversation on what to do with our transit agency.

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 09:07:18 AM
Quote
What I'm hearing is perhaps instead of trying to be a regional authority

Except for Doug Conke, the only people that want to be a regional transportation authority is... JTA.

It seems our new mayor isn't quite pleased with JTA either... well its time for him to be a leader and make things happen.  We're all waiting patiently.

Tacachale

September 23, 2011, 09:13:36 AM
On the up side it looks like JTA thinks at least the downtown to 5 Points leg is working. Hopefully that would be enough for them to see the streetcar as worthwhile (assuming it's done correctly to make it worthwhile).

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 09:26:23 AM
I'm an extremely optimistic person... but that's just not how JTA operates.

The bottom line is that the current leadership structure will simply not allow new ideas to come to life.  That's the reality of the situation.

thelakelander

September 23, 2011, 09:43:48 AM
On the up side it looks like JTA thinks at least the downtown to 5 Points leg is working. Hopefully that would be enough for them to see the streetcar as worthwhile (assuming it's done correctly to make it worthwhile).

The streetcar project doesn't need JTA's involvement to happen and any attempt to tie the success of a poorly operated bus line with a fixed transit route is a mistake.  They aren't apples to apples systems and the fixed transit route has as much to do with stimulating transit oriented development as it does moving people.

Kay

September 23, 2011, 10:26:46 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

stephendare

September 23, 2011, 10:28:12 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

+1 million

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 10:34:47 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

Missed saying hello to you last night Kay.

Thanks for keeping it real RE: JTA  :)

dougskiles

September 23, 2011, 10:36:27 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

Agreed - and we have come to this conclusion a million times on this site.  HOW do we make it happen?

fieldafm

September 23, 2011, 10:38:33 AM
Quote
JTA did not explain why they didn't reach out to the neighborhood to discuss the service's poor performance.

One more thing(as if there wasn't enough) they also cancelled the public hearing before cutting back the route.

Gravity

September 23, 2011, 10:48:52 AM
I guess you have to concede at some point this has to be paid for by interest and usage.

People in this town are used to the suburban lifestyle. I think the solution might be marketing the public service better, but that is a hard sell. When i lived in Riverside and worked downtown... i was excited by the trolley stop at the corner. I would think FCCJ students living in the area would welcome that as well.

The problem is, once you are off work... or out of school... do you always go straight home? We are lacking a comprehensive public transit system that solves more that just one-way commuting needs. It is a mite better than the central hub style bus routes elsewhere in town, but what happens if you want dinner in San Marco, or have a date out at the beach. You will take your car, cause the alternative doesnt exist.

The trolley is a great first step, but it is a local solution. The problems we have are city-wide, local solutions need to fit into a bigger plan. Solutions from other cities cannot just be transposed or overlaid like the maps on this site.

Im not sure we can get there from where we are.

Random thought... what about a ferry from County Dock road area to the ortega area?

thelakelander

September 23, 2011, 10:56:45 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

Agreed - and we have come to this conclusion a million times on this site.  HOW do we make it happen?

Don't renew the gas tax and it will force some type of reorganization.  Its a chunk of what keeps them afloat.

thelakelander

September 23, 2011, 11:03:26 AM
I guess you have to concede at some point this has to be paid for by interest and usage.

Correct.  However, how operations are run and community involvement is what generates interest and usage.  Fail at those two, and whatever you're putting on the street will likely fail as well.

Quote
The trolley is a great first step, but it is a local solution. The problems we have are city-wide, local solutions need to fit into a bigger plan.

A faux trolley is not an incremental step to anything.  You could achieve the same thing with an efficiently ran regular bus.  Nevertheless, I do agree that everything needs to be planned and implemented at a holistic level.

Quote
Solutions from other cities cannot just be transposed or overlaid like the maps on this site.

Sure they can.  You look at other places to see what methods have worked or failed and see if some may be successful in certain situations you're community may face.  Using the Riverside Trolley as an example, it partially failed because suggestions from the community were ignored.  Many of those suggestions actually came from solutions that have been successfully implemented in other communities across the country.

]

Kay

September 23, 2011, 11:21:40 AM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

Agreed - and we have come to this conclusion a million times on this site.  HOW do we make it happen?

Where exactly do they get the authority to exist--from the state legislature?

Overstreet

September 23, 2011, 12:06:54 PM
If it is such a good idea buy a couple of trolleys, set up the business and do it.  You can change the hours all  you want. 

Unless of course, public transportation means it doesn't have to cover cost.

stephendare

September 23, 2011, 12:08:26 PM
public transportation doesnt 'cover costs'.

There are very few highways or neighborhood streets that make a profit after all.

thelakelander

September 23, 2011, 12:15:59 PM
...and even with tolls, the Outer Beltway won't make a profit either.  The same goes for public libraries, parks, fire and police departments.

cline

September 23, 2011, 01:31:32 PM
Garbarge collection is lucrative though.  Just ask Waste Management.

Coolyfett

September 23, 2011, 03:23:55 PM
So it this suppose to mean that a Skystation near 5 Points is a bad idea?

urbaknight

September 23, 2011, 04:53:10 PM
I'm just going to share my opinion with any and every manager I see. I'm going to tell them exactally what I think of them and their shitty job performance, and that I'm gunning for each and every one of their jobs; and will not rest until every one of them are fired!

I wonder if that would that get me kicked off JTA buses all together? If so, can I sue, citing that I'm legally blind and therefore, have no other way to get around?

Ocklawaha

September 23, 2011, 07:11:08 PM
Quote
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

Without a doubt, this is a planned failure aimed at anything that threatens to take center stage away from BRT.

JTA is, and has been an out of control, rogue agency, long on waste and short on creative solutions. Squandering money on ill advised concepts, JTA can uniquely snub the citizenry, marching as they do to Tallahassee's drummer. Inept, inefficient and wholly incompetent to respond to the needs of a rapidly growing metropolitan area. JTA should be split into the Jacksonville Highway Authority, and the Jacksonville TRANSIT Authority, a transit authority that answers first and foremost to the citizens of Jacksonville.

Combining mass transit with an organization primarily dedicated to road building is the transportation equivalent of a zoo that keeps it's rodents and snakes in the same cage.

JTA had the opportunity to follow the Park and King suggestions that came from MJ, or the concept of creating activity centers on either end of the route by terminating at Roosevelt Plaza via Avondale and Fairfax, and in downtown. A bus route operated on frequent and consistant headways could operate well into the night. Functional and predictable schedules take the guess work out of mass transit, operating more as a magic carpet then a traditional sloppy bus.


OCKLAWAHA

ChriswUfGator

September 23, 2011, 09:16:06 PM
JTA needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.

+1 million

^10th power

TheProfessor

September 23, 2011, 11:17:54 PM
Weren't there two other trolley bus lines in addition to the Riverside Trolley??

cityimrov

September 23, 2011, 11:21:25 PM
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about. 

peestandingup

September 24, 2011, 01:12:02 AM
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about.

Well, thats what happens when you completely rip out & gut the fabric of decent public transportation (and the urban cores in general) like we have done within our cities in this country with the dismantling of our rail networks. The resulting terrible replacement system (buses) are only then utilized by the poorest of the poor who have no choice. Hence, public transportation then gets stigmatized & is largely seen as a "handout" for the less fortunate. Which is why no one wants to throw any money at it & take it seriously in places like this. Our sprawl makes this even worse because the majority of the people in the "city of jacksonville" would never use the system & would never support it.

But in reality, and certainly in other parts of the world (and even pockets in our own country), being the "poor's way to get around" is simply not the case. DC for instance. Hell, I can remember on more than one occasion riding the Metro & seeing senators & the like. Its just that a lot of sprawling car-centric cities like Jax didn't get that memo & are still stuck in a time warp. Even though all they have to do is look back into their own history to see what worked before.

But that's a hard sell right now with the reasons I've said, plus the economy & also the mistakes of past boondoggles (Skyway). The further cities like Jax go down the rabbit hole, the less likely they are to crawl out of it. That's why I'm not holding my breathe for any real, decent public transit network to become a reality here. Especially with idiots like JTA having any say so in it.

strider

September 24, 2011, 08:37:24 AM
I have a theory on this.  I haven't gathered the facts to prove it but it's a theory that might make sense on why JTA does what it does. 

I think JTA mass transit plans does a decent job in the only thing it seems to do.  That is, bus lower class workers from their place of resident to some workplace somewhere else and back again.  That seems to be the main mission and goal of the entire mass transit system in their eyes and the eyes of the people who put them in a position of power. 

This idea of supporting a walkable district, density, etc - these are foreign concepts to JTA.  Toys, as you will.  Things like the Riverside Trolley is just a small side project to them.  Nothing really important compared to it's main mission of moving the lower class workforce who can't afford cars from it's home to their place of work.  Anything beyond that fundamental goal is foreign to them. 

To get JTA's and the people who put JTA's power in, you need to talk more about moving lower class workers from home to work otherwise they won't have a clue what your talking about. 

That is, or rather should be, the goal of all public transportation systems.  It seems to me it always has been.  The "bread and butter", if you will, of all public transportation is providing a needed service to those who must or need to use the system to get to work or appointments, etc.  Moving the upwardly mobile to have fun is simply the desert.   While in Jacksonville the "bread and butter" users may be in the lower social economic groups, in most successful cities with walkable urban cores, it is a varied mix as higher income groups (who can afford to drive cars) use the public transportation system as it is easy and convenient to do so.

Peestandingup's post sort of says why we are where we are.  Like most cities, we abandoned the urban core to the poorest of us.

While I am far from an expert, I can see that unless you include the lower income classes in any decision about routes or street car or anything involving public transportation, you are reducing your chances of success.  That group, the one that often does not have other transportation, will be the first to use that street car, for instance, to go buy their groceries, go to work at those restaurants we all want and to go make that doctor's appointment.  Without them, it seems the costs can not ever be covered.  They come (to use the system) first, the more upwardly mobile second.

Ocklawaha

September 24, 2011, 10:50:16 AM

If you build a system designed around the poor, you have limited yourself to that market only. If you design it around the rich, the poor will also climb on board, effectively doubling your market. Jacksonville's average citizen hasn't a clue that our rush hour buses are filled with professionals, anyone doubting this fact should stand in front of the Courthouse Annex bus stop between 4:45 and 6:00 pm.

The idea that we must cater to the poor if we ever want to "cover our costs of operation," is equally absurd. In the entire world, one can count the mass transit systems that pay for themselves on two hands.

The problem here is seeing transit as 'a ride,' rather then a tool toward a superior urban lifestyle. "Does it have good transit?" is one of the top three questions asked by relocation specialists. So if your goal is primarily to serve those who won't or can't drive, you'll never achieve the balance that makes the city a desirable place to live. Any city could have attractive infrastructure as fine as our own Laura Street, but without excellent mass transit, it is a feudal persuit.

Roads move cars, mass transit moves people. Splitting JTA into a transit agency and a road building entity would assure us that at least one municipal authority is 100% committed to mobility choice.

Mobility for the poor has been the local mind set so long that the entire JTA system is littered with half finished projects, out of date signs, poor maintenance and layers of false promises. Board the bus here and you stand in the mud and roadside garbage, board the bus there and your in a brand new shelter, read the signs and you'll go nowhere. If Nordstrom's department stores were as, "on top of their game," as JTA, they would have sold out to Wal-Mart years ago.

JTA will quickly tell you about their award winning management.  They won't tell you the good ol' boys got friendly appointments to positions of power and then awards were 'invented' for window dressing.  As a transit agency, JTA is not.


OCKLAWAHA

urbanlibertarian

September 24, 2011, 11:44:48 AM
1. Do any of our peer cities have good bus service that is responsive to customers?
2. Is it legal for private companies or individuals to compete with JTA?

Ocklawaha

September 24, 2011, 12:10:42 PM
Yes and yes. Gainesville carries as many passengers in a year as does JTA. St. Augustine's 'Sunshine Bus' is truly an award winning operation with recgoniction from magazines such as Mass Transit and Metro. We already have many privately held local bus operators, but they are smart enough to not to get into the city transit business.

OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

September 24, 2011, 01:14:25 PM
Quote
Gainesville carries as many passengers in a year as does JTA

They get a BIG boost b/c UF students ride free and there are bus lines that go through campus.

BUT, the Later Gator service that runs late night on University Blvd is something that can be easily replicated for the Riverside Trolley... hell we do it in Jax Beach. 

Taltran is a pretty good service to study that's also pretty close.  Comparable to Jacksonville(Tallahassee has similar characteristics to Jax as far as land use, albeit on a smaller scale)

urbanlibertarian

September 24, 2011, 03:25:33 PM
When I said peer cities I guess I meant pop. 500k to 1.5 million and mucho sprawl.  I ride G-ville's Gator Aider service from DT to the stadium and back and have been very pleased.  I'm thinking private bus/van/jitney could do these specialized "trolley" routes and make money while being responsive to riders in the way that private businesses are and JTA is not.

ChriswUfGator

September 25, 2011, 09:15:26 AM
Gainesville, I used to take the bus every day, even though I had a car. But I wouldn't have if Gainesville's RTS had been run like JTA, where it woukd take 4 hours and 2 transfers to get to school and back. If RTS had been run like JTA, I'd have sooner taken a hot air balloon and prayed the wind would blow the right way. And no doubt I'd still have had a better chance at making it there on time than with JTA. It was free yes, you just show them your Gator 1 card and they had some deal with UF that the school paid them for student transportation they were happy to do it since that's cheaper than building a bunch of parking garages. But free or not, if it were run like JTA, I wouldn't have been able to afford using it because it's always late and unreliable, if you have anywhere to be on time JTA is pretty much a non-option, or else you better leave 2 hours early.

simms3

September 25, 2011, 11:07:13 AM
Oklawaha, good points.

JTA's busses are about the nicest and newest I have seen, but putting people who have their own cars on typical city busses is next to impossible in almost any city outside of the really dense northern cities.

What I have noticed where I live is that a lot of professionals love the express busses.  These are $3/ride and run from Midtown/Downtown to park and ride or transfer points in the suburbs with no stops in between.  The busses themselves are coach style with comfortable raised seating.  I have never heard of any crime statistics on the express busses, but I hear of shootings and robberies weekly on MARTA city busses (I wouldn't be caught dead on a city bus).  The express busses are run by many different transit organizations: GRTA (pronounced Greta), CCT (Cobb County), Gwinnett County Transit, Xpress, and others.  There is a drop off point in front of my building at the Art Center MARTA station, and let me tell you, during rush hour there are 5 busses at a time coming and going, all full.  I can't remember how many people a day use the express busses up here, but I remember it being a large number (tens of thousands maybe?).

I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

The reason why city bus service in Jacksonville can't be super successful is for three reasons: our routes for one.  Our stations are nonexistent.  And we are not dense enough to support bus service every 15 minutes, or even every 30 minutes.  There are not enough riders, even if we made route and station improvements.  I think the metric to support bus service once an hour is around 4,000 ppsm, and we barely have that in areas.

JTA does need to split into two separate agencies, though.  I don't even think there is a "road building" city agency up here.  I believe it's all a part of the Dept of Public Works and GDOT.  Lord knows whatever road building model we use up here is not the one to emulate: massive payoffs, kickbacks, corruption, etc.  Our lead GDOT guy just had to resign, as a matter of fact.  The potholes still cover the city and cost drivers millions each year, yet our 20 lane highways get a good repaving for hundreds of millions of dollars every couple years.

fieldafm

September 25, 2011, 11:15:39 AM
Quote
I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

Those express routes already exist.  They all go downtown though.  The major employment center is on the Southside now, not downtown so it would make sense for those expres routes to link up to the Southside as well as downtown... and have a much more organized feeder system once you get to the Southside.  The article Lake posted about Miami's express busses that have wifi and attract choice riders was interesting.

simms3

September 25, 2011, 12:31:10 PM
^^^Field, wi-fi and amenities is what I am referring to when I talk about express busses.  Jacksonville does not have express busses.  It has express city busses, which are poor excuses for "express" busses.  Does JTA use charter busses?  Does JTA provide wireless?  Does JTA charge $3/ride for express routes?  Does JTA offer park and ride or viable connections at express pickups and dropoffs?  I think the answer is no to all of the above, so therefore JTA does not use express busses.  CCT, GCT, and GRTA Xpress busses move about 37,000 people a day (weekdays only).

From GRTA's site: "With plenty of legroom, reclining seats, luggage racks, electrical outlets (some seats) and reading lamps — it's a first class way to ride."  I believe CCT and GCT provide wireless on their express busses.  All three are choice rider systems.  They are too expensive for the poor and they are clean and crime free, thus attracting middle class workers.

Ocklawaha

September 25, 2011, 11:04:34 PM
Jacksonville including all of Duval County has a density of 1,133.9 people per square mile. Atlanta might have a density of 4,019.7 ppsm, but the Atlanta Metro Area, roughly analogous to Duval County (the extent of JTA) is actually 629.4 ppsm.

Truth be told, there really is no formula of density = schedule headways. The fact is the supposed formula is trotted out by the anti-transit crowd to prove that (name any project) won't work. Every single city and every MSA has it's own unique set of population v mobility challenges. Take Orlando for example, because of lakes, 4 onetime military reservations and insanely rapid growth, you have a metro of 2,000,000 plus, with what amounts to a single main highway. It really doesn't matter how dense the population is along the east or west edges of Orlando, if your going north or south, where the main employers are, your going on I-4. Though Orlando's density is 2,134 ppsm, that entire population is forced into very few extremely crowded corridor. Atlanta has the same type situations, nobody is building apartments on top of Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Sweetwater Creek State Park or Lake Lanier, thus each corridor around those places is likely to be much denser then the average square mile of ground. 

Some cities that are much smaller might have highly successful transit operations, St. Augustine, Gainesville and Stillwater, Oklahoma are just 3 examples. Note that I didn't say 'profitable' or 'cover the cost of operations,' successful equals popular, punctual, clean, efficient, progressive, aggressive, in-demand, welcome and welcoming, mass transit. Gainesville and Stillwater both operate in cities dominated by major university's, St. Augustine has a large centrally located college and just short of 7 million visitors a year, tourism that creates a demand for thousands of service level jobs. Success isn't so much that these cities have been somehow 'blessed' with a successful 'excuse' for being winners, as it is that they recognised these demographics and responded to them.

Jacksonville grew up on the railroad, even as a teen in Jacksonville there were little flag stop stations all over the county... Greenland, Bayard, Sunbeam, South Jacksonville, Yukon, Springfield, Whitehouse, etc.. Further the city has grown up around it's river port and it's military presence creating unique crisscrossing corridors connecting the dots and strung along railroad lines, past (such as Atlantic, Beach, Wonderwood) as well as current. Our US Highways and our Interstates ALL follow historical railroad corridors. Lastly  you have to factor in the miles and miles of nothing between Cecil Commerce Center and the county line near Callahan, or the miles of empty marsh between Little Talbot Island and North Main Street. Using our historic corridors as your measure and you come up with a much denser city, denser in fact then many cities with rail based metros.

To over simplify the problem in Jacksonville, JTA simply has failed to respond to the needs and historical travel patterns in Jacksonville. Ultimately JTA fails across the board, it is not popular, punctual, clean, efficient, progressive, aggressive, in-demand, welcome or welcoming.

Is there a demand for a dedicated express bus between the Nuclear Submarine Base at Kings Bay, and Mayport or NAS Jax? Does anybody at JTA even know where Kings Bay is at?  How many times have we met with RTS from Gainesville and Greyhound Lines to discuss a real connection between Shand's and UF? Does JTA know that Camp Blanding is no longer a sleepy home for weekend warriors and does in fact train Army, Marine and other units of our military? JTA laid out 90 miles of commuter rail, how many of those miles currently have dedicated express buses? Can I get directly from UNF/Town Center/Baymeadows to Orange Park? Can I get on JTA and get off in downtown St. Augustine? Green Cove Springs? How about Julington Creek Plantation? Nocatee? Fernandina Beach? Middleburg? Are St. Augustine buses welcome into downtown Jacksonville? Locally can I get from NAS to Cecil or Mayport on a single coach? Bus? How about NAS to anywhere on a single bus? How often can I get to Cecil Commerce Center, Aquatics Center, Equestrian Center, or the Zoo? Can I ride directly from the Library to UNF, JU, FSCJ and Edward Waters? Mandarin, Lake Forest or San Jose to the Beaches seamlessly?  If not why not?

JTA fails largely because the same clueless managers, directors and planners that brought us the failed and incomplete Skyway, The Southbank Parking Garage, and plans for a Vatican City sized Transportation Center, continue to bumble along with false starts, wasteful practices, and a 'CYA' business plan. With the exception of a few newer faces, the entire organization should shift to highway planning and the city should create a responsive mass transit agency with those few bright stars at it's center.


OCKLAWAHA

ChriswUfGator

September 26, 2011, 12:06:35 PM
Oklawaha, good points.

JTA's busses are about the nicest and newest I have seen, but putting people who have their own cars on typical city busses is next to impossible in almost any city outside of the really dense northern cities.

What I have noticed where I live is that a lot of professionals love the express busses.  These are $3/ride and run from Midtown/Downtown to park and ride or transfer points in the suburbs with no stops in between.  The busses themselves are coach style with comfortable raised seating.  I have never heard of any crime statistics on the express busses, but I hear of shootings and robberies weekly on MARTA city busses (I wouldn't be caught dead on a city bus).  The express busses are run by many different transit organizations: GRTA (pronounced Greta), CCT (Cobb County), Gwinnett County Transit, Xpress, and others.  There is a drop off point in front of my building at the Art Center MARTA station, and let me tell you, during rush hour there are 5 busses at a time coming and going, all full.  I can't remember how many people a day use the express busses up here, but I remember it being a large number (tens of thousands maybe?).

I think Jacksonville can have success in 2-3 express bus routes using charter busses.  You have to do the beaches.  You have to do the Avenues.  And you have to do Orange Park.  It would be a super cheap fix.

The reason why city bus service in Jacksonville can't be super successful is for three reasons: our routes for one.  Our stations are nonexistent.  And we are not dense enough to support bus service every 15 minutes, or even every 30 minutes.  There are not enough riders, even if we made route and station improvements.  I think the metric to support bus service once an hour is around 4,000 ppsm, and we barely have that in areas.

JTA does need to split into two separate agencies, though.  I don't even think there is a "road building" city agency up here.  I believe it's all a part of the Dept of Public Works and GDOT.  Lord knows whatever road building model we use up here is not the one to emulate: massive payoffs, kickbacks, corruption, etc.  Our lead GDOT guy just had to resign, as a matter of fact.  The potholes still cover the city and cost drivers millions each year, yet our 20 lane highways get a good repaving for hundreds of millions of dollars every couple years.

The buses aren't the problem. The drivers, routes, headways, management, and general attitude are JTA's problem.

I don't think anyone is arguing JTA doesn't know how to sign a check to buy a new bus. Writing checks is actually about the one thing they seem to be good at. You can have the nicest bus on the planet, if the service sucks nobody will use it.

showdogpro

September 27, 2011, 11:22:55 AM
FYI, JTA is holding a public hearing on November 2 at FSCJ Downtown Campus to discuss the proposed changes to the Riverside Trolley (among other things). If you really want the suits to hear what you have to say about it, show up and let 'em have it!!

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 27, 2011, 12:01:20 PM
they have these meetings every month.   I've been to several, and they're for telling us what they plan on doing, not whether or not we agree with it.

This new loop around the new courthouse that they are proposing is absolutely one of the dumbest things I think I've seen. 

I've mentioned ad nauseum the amount of bus routes that go through riverside - the only issue is that they don't stagger them.  Instead of a bus passing through every 6 minutes, they have 5 busses passing through every 30 minutes.  2 on park, 2 on st. johns (soon to be one), I on Herchel I can't make heads or tails why they do what they do.  (BTW - what I mentioned above doesn't account for the other lines that are running north of park down Ernest and College, etc...)

exnewsman

September 27, 2011, 01:13:47 PM
they have these meetings every month.   I've been to several, and they're for telling us what they plan on doing, not whether or not we agree with it.


JTA doesn't hold Public Hearings every month. Hearings are mandatory before any wholesale changes are made to bus routes. Feedback at these meetings is important.

I remember a year or so ago, JTA was planning some changes at the Beaches and several people came out to the hearing and asked JTA to not change the route they had planned. JTA listened and didn't make the planned adjustment. So its good to get involved in these things and make your voice heard.

A better transit system is within reach. Too often though people complain, but don't act. Maybe your way is better, maybe not. Maybe its not fiscally feasible to do what you want done, maybe it will only take some tweaks to make it happen.

@Westsider - ever ask JTA planners about all those Riverside routes and why they run like you described? It would be interesting to find out. Maybe there's a reason, maybe not. Curious.

Can you tell us more about this new courthouse loop? Where did you hear about it. Where does it go? Why don't you like it?

ChriswUfGator

September 27, 2011, 01:17:06 PM
FYI, JTA is holding a public hearing on November 2 at FSCJ Downtown Campus to discuss the proposed changes to the Riverside Trolley (among other things). If you really want the suits to hear what you have to say about it, show up and let 'em have it!!


Quote
fu·til·i·ty [fyoo-til-i-tee]

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/futility

noun, plural
 
1. the quality of being futile;  ineffectiveness; uselessness.

2. a trifle or frivolity: the large collection of futilities that clutter our minds.

3. a futile  act or event.

4. the act of attending JTA meetings and/or offering input intended to improve JTA


 ;D

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 27, 2011, 01:33:27 PM
I've spoken to both Kent Stover and Liz Peaks extensively over why this is and why that is.  I've offered several solutions (perceived to me as solutions) to several different routes - ones that I use daily - to no avail.

If they don't know the method to their madness, then how am I supposed to persuade them to do it another way.  I'm pretty sure there are quite a few posters on this forum that have the actual experience and educatation of the subject and haven't been able to crack that nut - I'm just the guy that rides the bus, personally witnesses the redundancy and overlapping and is put off by the lack of options due to poor route management monday through friday - but what do I know.

I was at a couple of the 'public forums' in july and august.  I don't remember the exact loop, but it eliminates the Landing, it eliminates St. Vincent and the Avondale Strip, it eliminates FCCJ Kent campus.  I also believe it eliminates one of the busier stops at Water Street.  But it does go past 4 parking garages and circles around both the front and the back of the new courthouse.  I can't seem to find any renderings on the website or facebook (I'm guessing Lake couldn't either, or he would have posted them)

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 27, 2011, 01:35:29 PM
FYI, JTA is holding a public hearing on November 2 at FSCJ Downtown Campus to discuss the proposed changes to the Riverside Trolley (among other things). If you really want the suits to hear what you have to say about it, show up and let 'em have it!!


Quote
fu·til·i·ty [fyoo-til-i-tee]

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/futility

noun, plural
 
1. the quality of being futile;  ineffectiveness; uselessness.

2. a trifle or frivolity: the large collection of futilities that clutter our minds.

3. a futile  act or event.

4. the act of attending JTA meetings and/or offering input intended to improve JTA
Also:  see Insanity

 ;D

Yep.  I keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  At least when you keep banging your head against the wall something will eventually break.   :P

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 27, 2011, 01:43:14 PM
I forgot your last question, exnewsman.

Why don't I like the new loop?  Let's see.... 

#1)  I don't have any daily business at the courthouse, hopefully if you do it's because you work there. 

#2)  I don't live in 5pts.  Honestly if you don't live at the condos on Oak St. or behind publix on Riverside, this line isn't coming by your house.  Which, BTW, you can refer back to #1

#3)  They (JTA) is complaining about not having the ridership that was projected.  Now it's not going through a residential area and will be unable to carry people from their homes to retail.  It's great if you want some sushi after you get out of court, but that's about it.   

#4)  According to the driver that I chatted with all the time (he has since been removed from the RST), they are genuinely trying to kill the route.  If they can prove that no one uses it, they won't have to provide the service anymore, and what better way to lower your ridership?

#5)  Have the trolley go from where no one lives to where no one needs or wants to go on a daily basis is just plain assinine, unless...  See the last sentence on #4

stephendare

September 27, 2011, 01:43:26 PM
I've spoken to both Kent Stover and Liz Peaks extensively over why this is and why that is.  I've offered several solutions (perceived to me as solutions) to several different routes - ones that I use daily - to no avail.

If they don't know the method to their madness, then how am I supposed to persuade them to do it another way.  I'm pretty sure there are quite a few posters on this forum that have the actual experience and educatation of the subject and haven't been able to crack that nut - I'm just the guy that rides the bus, personally witnesses the redundancy and overlapping and is put off by the lack of options due to poor route management monday through friday - but what do I know.

I was at a couple of the 'public forums' in july and august.  I don't remember the exact loop, but it eliminates the Landing, it eliminates St. Vincent and the Avondale Strip, it eliminates FCCJ Kent campus.  I also believe it eliminates one of the busier stops at Water Street.  But it does go past 4 parking garages and circles around both the front and the back of the new courthouse.  I can't seem to find any renderings on the website or facebook (I'm guessing Lake couldn't either, or he would have posted them)

Im totally with redneck on this one.  In a stellar list of incompetent people at JTA who need to be horsewhipped and driven out of town on a rail fired, Kent Stover is the number one position on that list.

He neither knows how the bus system works when you add 'riders' to the equation, nor does he care.

thelakelander

September 27, 2011, 01:53:03 PM
2016 = gas tax expiration = 1/3 loss of JTA operating revenue = forced makeover!

Non-RedNeck Westsider

September 27, 2011, 02:02:30 PM
2016 = gas tax expiration = 1/3 loss of JTA operating revenue = forced makeover!

ChriswUfGator

September 27, 2011, 02:10:31 PM
2016 = gas tax expiration = 1/3 loss of JTA operating revenue = forced makeover!

Hahaha...

Let me tell you how this is going to play out. In late 2014 or 2015, with as little mention in the media as possible, discussion will start quietly about re-upping the tax, and the effort will backed by the construction lobby. The ballot language will be some misleading garbage, as usual, where most people see it and assume they're saving starving children and orphans, instead of giving handouts to construction firms and perpetuating one of the most severe sprawl problems in the country. We'll whine and cry, but it will pass regardless. Even though, somehow, you won't find a single resident of the county who will admit to supporting it later.

thelakelander

September 27, 2011, 02:18:34 PM
My guess is they don't want this thing to make it to a public referendum stage.  No amount of selling what they do will get the public to vote for extending it in this town.  If that came to pass, I'd bet the house that it would end up worse then Tampa's failed referendum for LRT last year.  Instead, the best thing for JTA would be to quietly get council and the mayor's office to extend it before it expires.  In this economic and political climate, that's not as easy as it would have been five years ago.

ChriswUfGator

September 27, 2011, 02:31:09 PM
My guess is they don't want this thing to make it to a public referendum stage.  No amount of selling what they do will get the public to vote for extending it in this town.  If that came to pass, I'd bet the house that it would end up worse then Tampa's failed referendum for LRT last year.  Instead, the best thing for JTA would be to quietly get council and the mayor's office to extend it before it expires.  In this economic and political climate, that's not as easy as it would have been five years ago.

Unless COJ has some portion of its constitutionally authorized taxing allowance that it has not yet used, which I don't think it does (we're already at 7%, and already have all the local option levies don't we?) then funding JTA through Duval County revenue and the imposition of a new tax would require voter approval. I guess they could fund it with existing revenue, rob peter to pay paul. But either way, I think you're grossly overestimating the Duval County electorate, Lake. They've voted for every sprawl-producing thing imaginable, I'm not sure why it would be a whole lot different now. I hope it would, I truly do. but I guess I'm a little skeptical.

exnewsman

September 27, 2011, 02:39:38 PM
2016 = gas tax expiration = 1/3 loss of JTA operating revenue = forced makeover!


Why would you fund public transit from a gas tax anyway. You want more people to use public transit which reduces private vehicles usage, which lowers gas tax revenue. Less revenue for public transit. Doesn't seem to make any sense.

thelakelander

September 27, 2011, 03:06:59 PM
Discussion on this issue has already been going on and it doesn't appear that a referendum has to be held.

Quote
‘Not the time to increase taxes or fees’

Mayor Alvin Brown’s Strategic Initiatives Transition Committee took aim at the City’s millage rate and tax structure, calling Jacksonville a “low-tax city.”......

Among its recommendations are to work with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to reorganize transportation funding so that new projects can be financed in the wake of the Better Jacksonville Plan, which encumbered JTA’s principal source of resources temporarily.

“JTA suggests that the half-cent sales tax revenue ($66 million) pledge to BJP roads be restored to JTA, in return for the 6-cent gas tax ($23 million) going back to the City, and JTA retaining responsibility for its 1997 bonds, which will cost about $38 million in 2011-12, and about $8 million each year thereafter until 2023,” it said.
http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=534386


Quote
Mayoral candidates don't all agree with JTA on gas tax extension

Jacksonville mayoral candidates Mike Hogan and Alvin Brown say they would let the city's 6-cent-per-gallon gas tax die when it expires in 2016, but other candidates say they would support extending it for transportation projects.

None of the candidates said they would back increasing the gas tax, which state law allows to be as high as 12 cents per gallon.

The gas tax will be an issue facing the next mayor because the Jacksonville Transportation Authority plans to seek an extension. Last year, the JTA proposed extending the gas tax and increasing it to 11 cents per gallon. JTA later withdrew that request and said it would only ask for an extension.

The tax steers about $30 million each year to JTA, about one-third of its operating budget. The agency says it would have to greatly scale back operations without the money.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2011-03-20/story/mayoral-candidates-dont-all-agree-jta-gas-tax-extension#ixzz1H8mf2pRC


Quote
JTA to ask council for gas tax increase and extension

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will ask the City Council in the next few months to extend the local 6-cent gasoline tax that is set to expire in 2016 so it will be in place for another 30 years.

JTA will also ask the council to approve an additional 5-cent gas tax that should generate about $25 million a year over 30 years.

If approved, every motorist who buys gas in Duval County could have an 11-cent local surcharge on a gallon of gasoline.

JTA gets about $30 million a year currently from the local gas tax and says it will have to significantly scale back operations if that money dries up.

In 1986, the City Council approved the tax for 10 years only, but later extended it for 20 more years.

Council President-elect Jack Webb, a lawyer who counts JTA among his former clients, said he's inclined to support both requests - extending the tax again and raising it.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-06-05/story/jta-ask-council-gas-tax-increase-and-extension


Quote
JTA urges extending gas tax for roadwork

...Extending the local 6-cent-per-gallon tax that drivers pay at Jacksonville gas pump is the most viable way to cover $99 million in cost overruns for Better Jacksonville Plan roadwork, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's chief financial officer said Tuesday.

The gas tax will expire in 2016 unless the City Council votes to continue the tax.

http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/102704/met_17024435.shtml


JHAT76

September 27, 2011, 05:58:53 PM
If they wanted some riders the ycould have had 1 - 2 buses in the AM and afternoon make the trip from the FSCJ point all the way and loop down Jefferson past LaVilla School.  Plenty of kids from the area who could use a ride to school on that route.  3 - 4 on my block alone within walking distance of a current riverside trolley stop.

JTA never really tried to adjust some routes and take advantage of new riders created by the removal of buses for magnet students.

I forgot your last question, exnewsman.

Why don't I like the new loop?  Let's see.... 

#1)  I don't have any daily business at the courthouse, hopefully if you do it's because you work there. 

#2)  I don't live in 5pts.  Honestly if you don't live at the condos on Oak St. or behind publix on Riverside, this line isn't coming by your house.  Which, BTW, you can refer back to #1

#3)  They (JTA) is complaining about not having the ridership that was projected.  Now it's not going through a residential area and will be unable to carry people from their homes to retail.  It's great if you want some sushi after you get out of court, but that's about it.   

#4)  According to the driver that I chatted with all the time (he has since been removed from the RST), they are genuinely trying to kill the route.  If they can prove that no one uses it, they won't have to provide the service anymore, and what better way to lower your ridership?

#5)  Have the trolley go from where no one lives to where no one needs or wants to go on a daily basis is just plain assinine, unless...  See the last sentence on #4

Ocklawaha

September 27, 2011, 09:39:43 PM
2016 = gas tax expiration = 1/3 loss of JTA operating revenue = forced makeover!


Why would you fund public transit from a gas tax anyway. You want more people to use public transit which reduces private vehicles usage, which lowers gas tax revenue. Less revenue for public transit. Doesn't seem to make any sense.


Extra revenue? Let me count the ways.

Quote
Seal Beach, Calif. (May 5, 2011) — Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Nasdaq: CLNE) has signed long-term agreements with four major airport complexes in four states to design, build, own and operate new compressed natural gas (“CNG”) stations to support ground transport vehicles and off-airport parking shuttles. The new Clean Energy stations, available 24/7 for public access, will be located in Tampa, Florida; New York City, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Seal Beach, CA (April 27, 2011) — Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has awarded Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Nasdaq: CLNE) a $40-million contract to design and build four new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations to support the transition of DART’s fixed route and paratransit bus fleet to 100% CNG power. The project will also will include two building modifications for maintenance facilities.

While I agree that such a tax might reduce vehicle usage, the reduction in auto usage would result in less wear and maintenance on the highway system and less air pollution. Thus a single source not only builds and maintains highways, it lowers maintenance costs and promotes cleaner air, all in the process of supporting mass transit. While doubling the ridership of JTA wouldn't make a ding in the perception of the daily traffic jam, 10 million less autos on the roads would certainly give us a bump on the bottom line.

There are many creative ways for JTA to increase it's income, but the city and state's reluctance to pioneer any concept prevents us from hearing it. I've tossed several ideas out that could make JTA self sufficient or close to it, idea's that I doubt they even remember. You know you've made an impact when their faces glaze over and the crickets start chirping.


OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

October 20, 2011, 09:03:42 AM
Let me also recap what the neighborhood did do:

-Convinced JTA to do a test run at Art Walk-Ridership went through the roof two out of the three times this was tried.  The third time was cold and rainy. I personally ate dinner at Cafe NOLA that night and there were 6 vendors in all of Hemming Plaza and the streets were bare... meaning, no one showed up at Art Walk that night.

-Convinced JTA to get out in the neighborhood and promote the trolley service and run a free service day-Single biggest ridership day they had

-Made the RAP Home Tour part of the Riverside Trolley route-Ridership spikes to very high levels

-Downtown stakeholders meet with JTA about extending service to Bay Street on weekend nights like the Beaches Trolley system gets(who btw averages LESS riders per hour than Riverside Trolley).  JTA never followsup with a promised second meeting.

-Riverside/Avondale advocates meet with JTA regarding several items:
*Thur-Sat evening hours-response was until ridership improves we won't do that

*Eliminate one of the 7 routes that touch Park Street and extend a secondary RT loop on Park so that the RT reaches more people-we already have ample service along Park Street(which is true as long as you want to go to Rosa Parks or the former Normandy Mall)

*A plan in hand with buy-in from local merchants about extending a direct merchant-based transit program with a bulk ticket program(done in other cities btw, with fantastic results in capturing choice riders)-response union bus drivers would never hand out tickets or validate any type of ticket*  BTW, they turned their back on the beaches merchants in year 2 of the Beaches Trolley service and advertising revenue and rideship drops

*A plan for RT-specific month-long discounted passes-response, yes we want to do that, guess we will be waiting for a very long time now that they are eliminating what was the Riverside Trolley.  BTW, the new plan is to terminate the trolley at the new courthouse, not the Landing. 

-It has been said here and said many, many times to JTA by anyone who would speak up... but the route, headways and the terminus at FSCJ were all mistakes and not convenient to anyone.  That was ignored.

-MetroJacksonville demonstrates a successful project with three months straight of successful trolley pub crawls, in part to demonstrate to JTA that evening service connecting vibrant entertainment/commercial nodes together works(as if you can't go to any city with a functioning transit system and witness this).

But hey, these are the smartest guys in the room... nothing to see here, move along.

There are about 5 senior people at JTA that get it.  Otherwise, the senior leadership team needs to be replaced.  And it needs to happen today.

Word has come out today that they will not only be reducing service, but INCREASING FARE on the Riverside Trolley(or what should be called the Courthouse Trolley as this will now terminate at the new Courthouse and not the Landing).

There is a public input meeting on November 2nd, but if you read what I've quoted... talking to JTA will frankly get you nowhere.

thelakelander

October 20, 2011, 09:22:58 AM
Umm....why is it ending at the new courthouse, which is on the edge of downtown?  Why not do a loop with Forsyth & Laura that ties the courthouse in with the Landing and Riverside?  On the surface, this revised route makes little sense and goes the concept of having popular destinations with a mix of uses at both ends.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

October 20, 2011, 09:23:39 AM
The fare increase isn't just for the trolley - it's across the board.



So why should they care about the gas tax expiration when they can just hike the rates 50% per trip.  The most unfortunate part is the riders who don't have another option - the monthly passers, so to speak - they are getting hit with a 25% increase - from $40/month to $50/month. 

Non-RedNeck Westsider

October 20, 2011, 09:26:52 AM
Umm....why is it ending at the new courthouse, which is on the edge of downtown?  Why not do a loop with Forsyth & Laura that ties the courthouse in with the Landing and Riverside?  On the surface, this revised route makes little sense and goes the concept of having popular destinations with a mix of uses at both ends.

This has been argued ad naseum in another thread, or maybe even this one, either way the answer is the same - because we at JTA really don't give a shit.

thelakelander

October 20, 2011, 09:33:27 AM
Where is the skyway's fare cost?  Are they making it free?

fieldafm

October 20, 2011, 09:47:59 AM
Quote
So why should they care about the gas tax expiration when they can just hike the rates 50% per trip.

To be fare these increased fares won't even come close to matching the revenue from the gas tax. 

I've officially given up on the Riverside Trolley.  We've proven that transit will work to attract choice riders if you make it relevant.  Relying on JTA isn't the answer.  I think the neighborhood has an innovative idea in regards to parking/transportation... I plan on seeing this idea come to fruition.  To get anything done, you have to do it yourself around here. 

Lake, I finally get it when you talk about cutting JTA out of the fixed transit game.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

October 20, 2011, 09:48:14 AM
Where is the skyway's fare cost?  Are they making it free?

I called JTA about that and their official stance was, "What skyway?"  ::)

peestandingup

October 20, 2011, 09:49:02 AM
Umm....why is it ending at the new courthouse, which is on the edge of downtown?  Why not do a loop with Forsyth & Laura that ties the courthouse in with the Landing and Riverside?  On the surface, this revised route makes little sense and goes the concept of having popular destinations with a mix of uses at both ends.

This has been argued ad naseum in another thread, or maybe even this one, either way the answer is the same - because we at JTA really don't give a shit.

Because that giant courthouse is all that matters downtown & only poor people (the courthouse's big revenue generators) use public transportation. Didn't you get the memo??

tufsu1

October 20, 2011, 09:49:13 AM
good question about the Skway Lake

now, to the fare increase....$1 was too low, but you can't jump 50% in one shot...St. Johns County (which also has a $1 fare) is considering increasing to $1.25 next year and $1.50 about five years later

fsujax

October 20, 2011, 09:56:54 AM
Non-Redneck Westsider, who did you talk to at JTA????

Non-RedNeck Westsider

October 20, 2011, 09:58:30 AM
Just a bit of sarcasm FSUJax (I think) ;)

peestandingup

October 20, 2011, 10:07:14 AM
Usually when you increase fares, it's also because the public is getting a better service as well. It's a give & take.

Last I checked, the overall service is as bad as ever. Still an hour wait on buses, still no shelters, still no way to track where the buses are, still duplicate routes, still no skyway extensions that would actually make it useful (or solid plans for breaking ground on streetcars), etc etc.

So it's all take & no give here. Welcome to transit in Jacksonville. Where you'll pay big city fares for garbage service.

Dashing Dan

October 20, 2011, 10:09:41 AM
The big news here is that the fare for all trolleys will be $1.50. 

The downtown trolleys are free now, so this could be a deal breaker for lots of people in our "walkable" downtown.

I could never figure out why they killed the Laura Ocean trolley in 2009.

fsujax

October 20, 2011, 10:15:57 AM
haha. ok. guess I missed it, but i was thinking to myself that could be for real.

fsujax

October 20, 2011, 10:21:23 AM
From what I understand JTA reps will be out at Rosa Parks Station today from 10-2 to talk about the fare increase. Ya'll should stop by!

tufsu1

October 20, 2011, 11:21:17 AM
Usually when you increase fares, it's also because the public is getting a better service as well. It's a give & take.

hardly...

Transit agencies all over have been increasing fares while cutting service....fact is, they have to pay for increased fuel/electric charges and like every other government agency, pensions

Ernest Street

November 01, 2011, 07:29:55 PM
Saturday the 29th, I look out on Ernest Street to see "The Trolley" marked as P-3 doing the shortened hour route...I almost fell off the steps from laughing....Maybe someone can remind us what the cost was to outfit a Potato Chip truck to look like an actual Public Mass Transit Device.
(the sad fact is I see two buses an hour going one way or the other {2 because they sort of pass each other within 10 minutes} and there is usually during the day 15 or so riders...at night there are sometimes 2 or 3.)

Cutting the Avondale Route..Hmm

Ocklawaha

November 01, 2011, 09:15:05 PM
The primary traffic flow in the Riverside area is north-south. My suggestion to wrap the bus around Roosevelt Square and Fairfax, was based on my own experiences from Ortega. It all boils down to where you work, where you play, and where you buy your services. Building a route, should be like stringing pearls. Imagine you live anyplace in the Riverside/Avondale/Brooklyn area:

Roosevelt Square
Roosevelt Square on Jacksonville's Westside features a Publix Super Market, Belk and Stein Mart. Lots of smaller specialty stores, like GNC, and eateries, including Moe's Southwest Grill, Panera and Longhorn Steakhouse.
 
Fairfax village
Fairfax village area just south of Fishweir Creek features a Fairfax Gallery/Framing, Nursery/Garden Center, Pottery Shop, Attorneys, Vet, Dry Cleaners, etc.

Had they extended it and made a loop of Herschel to Lakeside Drive to Roosevelt to St. Johns and back to Herschel. With this business and residential activity center as the southern anchor and adding 5-Points, Park and King, Medical Center, Avondale village, the route would have offered almost any business or product that one might want to buy... worth thinking about. REAL TROLLEY's ANYONE?

Not a chirp in a carload over at the Myrtle Avenue palace.

OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

November 01, 2011, 09:26:33 PM












ANY QUESTIONS?

ricker

December 02, 2011, 01:08:50 AM
Ock, would your proposed route still link to the Landing DT??

tufsu1

December 02, 2011, 10:20:50 AM
the Riverside Trolley, as re-routed, will also still go to the Landing

Non-RedNeck Westsider

December 02, 2011, 10:23:08 AM
the Riverside Trolley, as re-routed, will also still go to the Landing

Unless they changed it from the September workshop, it goes from the New Courthouse to 5 points.  No Landing.

Added from before:

I was at a couple of the 'public forums' in july and august.  I don't remember the exact loop, but it eliminates the Landing, it eliminates St. Vincent and the Avondale Strip, it eliminates FCCJ Kent campus.  I also believe it eliminates one of the busier stops at Water Street.  But it does go past 4 parking garages and circles around both the front and the back of the new courthouse.  I can't seem to find any renderings on the website or facebook (I'm guessing Lake couldn't either, or he would have posted them)

fieldafm

December 02, 2011, 10:25:44 AM
the Riverside Trolley, as re-routed, will also still go to the Landing

Unless they changed it from the September workshop, it goes from the New Courthouse to 5 points.  No Landing.

Correct

tufsu1

December 02, 2011, 02:01:39 PM
they did in fact change it...it now zig zags through the western part of downtown, serving both the courthouse and the Landing

http://www.jtafla.com/Schedules/12.05.11/RiversideTrolley.pdf

thelakelander

January 09, 2012, 11:07:18 AM
More options for riders and diners
http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/downtowntoday.php?dt_date=2012-01-06

new Riverside Trolley route map:

exnewsman

January 09, 2012, 03:45:46 PM
There's a lot of potential users in the Bay, Forsythe, Hemming Plaza area. The question is - will the new 20 minute frequency kill all of the usage. When the new Courthouse comes on line then there will be connection between that area and the Hemming Plaza core.

fsujax

January 09, 2012, 03:56:03 PM
20 minute headways will not work. This is the death of the Riverside Trolley.

fieldafm

January 09, 2012, 04:18:28 PM
20 minute headways will not work. This is the death of the Riverside Trolley.

Totally agree... it was tough enough getting back and forth from lunch under an hour with the old lunch service frequency... 20 minutes is laughably inconvenient for choice riders(you can walk from the Fidelity campus to Hemming Plaza in less time). 

The death of the trolley occured when JTA stopped listening to the neighbors and businesses this line served. 

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 09, 2012, 04:24:05 PM
20 minute headways, but 10 minute trip times (from Water St to Margaret & Park)

It's definitely a 15-20 minute walk from BCBS/Fidelity to Hemming, but it's only a 5 min. bike ride. 

tufsu1

January 13, 2012, 10:47:23 AM
just as JTA plans to cut service and start charging for the trolleys in downtown, Miami starts a free service connecting downtown and Brickell with the neir new baseball stadium

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/12/2584872/miami-commissioners-could-shuttle.html

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 13, 2012, 10:56:40 AM
just as JTA plans to cut service and start charging for the trolleys in downtown, Miami starts a free service connecting downtown and Brickell with the neir new baseball stadium

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/12/2584872/miami-commissioners-could-shuttle.html

You have to have some way to get all 300 fans out of the stadium in a timely manner. 

BTW, I actually consider myself a Marlins fan, but it's OK to poke fun at your own team, right Jags fans?

fieldafm

January 13, 2012, 10:58:55 AM
just as JTA plans to cut service and start charging for the trolleys in downtown, Miami starts a free service connecting downtown and Brickell with the neir new baseball stadium

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/12/2584872/miami-commissioners-could-shuttle.html

Apples and oranges... they don't have adequate parking facilities at the new ballpark and this was the owner's compromise.  Although, it is a GREAT example to use for the Kickback's situation  ;)

Although, they do have a large bicycle parking facility built out at the new stadium.

fieldafm

January 13, 2012, 11:01:43 AM
To their credit, JTA did make a halfway attempt at a trolley/transit night at the Basball Grounds this year... but the effort was backwards(very little promotion and a trolley schedule and route that didnt work well-especially for those that want to go out in downtown after a Thursday Throwdown, and it only followed the Bay Street Trolley route-why not go into Riverside or San Marco?).

Doctor_K

January 13, 2012, 11:16:06 AM
just as JTA plans to cut service and start charging for the trolleys in downtown, Miami starts a free service connecting downtown and Brickell with the neir new baseball stadium

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/12/2584872/miami-commissioners-could-shuttle.html

You have to have some way to get all 300 fans out of the stadium in a timely manner. 

BTW, I actually consider myself a Marlins fan, but it's OK to poke fun at your own team, right Jags fans?

LOL - nice one.

I'm a big Marlins fan myself.  But I have to take issue with your attendance number.


The new stadium will have at least 400 fans ;)

urbaknight

January 13, 2012, 03:36:57 PM
JTA will raise its fare starting on jan 30th. But it gets worse, it goes up 50 cents across the board. $1.00 to $1.50 for regular passengers. For the disabled it goes from .25 to .75, a 200% increase for those who can least afford it. The disabled community was in an uproar. They were very vocal about their unfairness to no avail JTA ignored everyone as they always do. Are they that stupid at JTA? Why didn't they do it on a percentage scale? If it goes up 50% for the regular rider, it should go up 50% for the disabled. I guess the heads of JTA are truly as stupid as we think they are, maybe even worse than we all realize. It should only go up to .35 or even .40. But I guess adding nickles and dimes to the mix would just be complicated for those idiots to count effectively.

Please MJ, help me make lots of noise to get these backward bumpkins fired!

exnewsman

January 13, 2012, 05:44:06 PM
The reduced fare is going up to $.50 in 2012 and then to $.75 in 2013.

tufsu1

January 13, 2012, 08:34:02 PM
JTA didn't ignore seniors...for some reason, those 60 and over can still ride free

Dashing Dan

January 14, 2012, 09:58:24 AM
JTA didn't ignore seniors...for some reason, those 60 and over can still ride free
Thanks everybody!

mtraininjax

January 16, 2012, 05:28:39 PM
Quote
They were very vocal about their unfairness to no avail JTA ignored everyone as they always do. Are they that stupid at JTA?

Blaylock needs to go, he is part of the dead wood in the city. He has not had a new idea in all the time he's been at JTA.

urbanlibertarian

January 16, 2012, 09:35:44 PM
JTA didn't ignore seniors...for some reason, those 60 and over can still ride free
Thanks everybody!

Seniors are the most reliable voting age group.  They are also the wealthiest age group.  A private charity would never target seniors for services without means testing.  Government agencies target seniors for benefits to buy votes.

Full disclosure:  If the policy doesn't change I'll be able to ride JTA free in 6 years.

tufsu1

March 02, 2012, 09:25:58 AM
here's an update on Miami's new trolley service

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/01/2669977/new-miami-trolley-goes-live-wins.html

Dog Walker

March 03, 2012, 11:12:04 AM
JTA didn't ignore seniors...for some reason, those 60 and over can still ride free
Thanks everybody!

Seniors are the most reliable voting age group.  They are also the wealthiest age group.  A private charity would never target seniors for services without means testing.  Government agencies target seniors for benefits to buy votes.

Full disclosure:  If the policy doesn't change I'll be able to ride JTA free in 6 years.

You won't be able to ride free anymore if you don't get one of the new STAR cards by the end of March.  The old photo ID transit passes won't be accepted anymore.  You have to go to the Rosa Parks Station to get them.

Dashing Dan

March 03, 2012, 02:38:23 PM
It helps to call the JTA first, to make an appointment. 

I got my Senior STAR card last week, at the Kings Avenue skyway station. 
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