Below is my e-mail conversation with JTA officials concerning the lack of dependable bus routes. Thus the crazy day Stephen had....
After reviewing the plans for the future BRT routes, I noticed that north route does not termite at the airport, rather it terminates at a Wal-Mart. The Jacksonville International Airport would be an obvious option for a northbound terminus for the line and offer Jacksonville residences a reliable alternative to driving to the airport, similar to how MARTA works in Atlanta . Why is the airport not the northbound destination on the BRT?
Thank you for your interest in the BRT project.
The initial BRT North Corridor project is a proposed bus corridor project along Boulevard St., Golfair Blvd. and Lem Turner Road providing enhanced passenger shelters, low floor branded vehicles, traffic signal priority, and a section of bus lanes providing transit service every 10 minutes in the peak hour and every 15 minutes in the off-peak. It is being implemented what is currently a high ridership corridor to provide more efficient service. The frequent transit service along the North Corridor will be supplemented by feeder buses to the BRT. This project will result in expanded transit service to the communities using feeder service and frequent premium transit service along the BRT route. This is an expansion of mobility for residents along this high ridership corridor in the most cost-effective manner.
The BRT North Corridor project is not currently extended to the Airport as current demand along the North Corridor route to the Airport is not high. Thus, it is not cost-effective to expand the project to the Airport at this time. It easily could be expanded to the Airport in the future as the travel demand grows. JTA has had discussions with the Airport about future expansion of the service and possible shared parking facilities (park and ride) as travel demand grows. Currently, the Airport is served by the CT 3 route along I-95.
That sounds nice in terms of profit margin. However to have the BRT,which is the "backbone" of public transit, simply follow demand is shortsighted. A defined North/South and East/West corridor that would work similarly to light rail is what would attract the non-traditional users and ensure future growth when paired with transit oriented development. The only way to make the city's public transportation more used by those who also own cars would be to popularize it with dependability, valid end destinations, and designed bus shelters. Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you for your interest in our BRT North Corridor project. As the BRT North Corridor project manager, I have been asked to respond to your inquiry below.
Unfortunately, public transit in the United States does not make a profit and thus, achieves no profit margin.
The planned BRT system is part of a planned regional transit system and thus, there are several "backbones" to the future regional system. The regional system consists of different services serving different markets from our trolleys serving a small area to the regional commuter rail that serves a much larger regional area. The service fits the market being served. BRT is providing a limited stop bus service that is connected to feeder routes that serve the neighborhoods, or circulators in the Downtown like the Skyway and Trolleys.
In planning for new transit service, a Minimum Operating Segment (MOS) is identified. The MOS is the first part of the service developed since it gains sufficient ridership and meets other Federal Transit Administration criteria. Thus, the MOS or the first part of the BRT North Corridor project is from the Downtown BRT project at Broad and State Streets to the Walmart at I-295 and Lem Turner Road. In the future, a BRT extension to the Airport could be re-evaluated against other alternatives such as a Northern Rail connection with bus shuttle service to the Airport or even possibly a rail connection with a light rail connection to the Airport.
You are correct frequent, dependable, attractive service to sought after destinations are important for improved transit service. The end station of the BRT North Corridor at the Walmart is currently the highest activity stop location after our major transfer centers and four of our Downtown major activity stops. Thus, the BRT North Corridor project will meet some of the goals you suggest.
If you have any further questions, please contact me.
At least JTA does a good job contacting you with a long response. If only they invested this time into implementing a good system. Sigh..