The Dispatch reported on the mood at the first public meeting about the COTA Downtown Operations Analysis. They make it clear that the transit center idea didn’t go over well. According to a comment on Columbus Underground, neither proposal was popular with attendees. But based on the end of this article, it sounds like COTA wants to do something different.
Bus riders not thrilled with proposed COTA transit center
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 11:49 PM
By Robert Vitale
The Columbus Dispatch
A sweltering July afternoon failed to win over many Central Ohio Transit Authority riders today on the idea of a transit center that would consolidate Downtown bus stops.
A cool wait for the bus – or a warm wait or a dry one, depending on the weather – wouldn’t be worth the tradeoff of a longer walk to get there and a longer ride home, regular riders said.
“I’d go for the quickest option,” said Moten, waiting for a Broad Street bus in the not-too-helpful shade of a Statehouse parking-garage entrance.
…A COTA study of its Downtown operations suggested that rerouting more than a third of High Street buses a block west to Front Street bus stops would accomplish the same development goals with less cost to taxpayers and less disruption for passengers.
A transit center – with restrooms, stores and food service – would cost between $20 million and $40 million to build and $5 million a year to run, COTA consultants estimated. The most likely location would be at Gay and High streets, just a block north of Broad and High, but the consultants said routing buses through a center would add up to six minutes to some riders’ trips.
COTA executives prefer diverting 32 of 89 evening rush-hour buses to Front Street, but the plan would require converting Front Street to two-way traffic north of Broad. Consultants estimated that option would cost $1.6 million to build new shelters and $1.2 million to run annually.
It would mean an extra minute or two on the bus for passengers.
Neither plan would require a fare increase, COTA Vice President Doug Moore said. The agency hasn’t budgeted for either option, though, he said.
COTA President and CEO Bill Lhota said the agency likely will pursue one of the two plans instead of sticking with the status quo.
“We want to work with the leaders of this city,” he said.
So does that mean some buses are moving to Front Street? Will COTA wait for transfer data from new fare boxes before making decisions? Or is it back to square one to generate new ideas?