The best bus ever

The best bus ever
Jason Sievers' awesome Art in Transit bus

Thursday, December 28, 2006

No annual passes. Why?

Valley Ride needs to make it easier to buy bus passes.

Every year, the Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise hangs tags on the Christmas tree on Boise's Grove to seek donations for its work. I chose one requesting bus passes.

The Valley Ride website says you can buy monthly bus passes at Albertson's. I went to Albertson's to buy one, but they said they didn't have 'em. So I went to Boise City Hall and was able to buy one there.

When I decided to buy an annual bus pass (listed on Valley Ride's website and in its current paper schedule at $266), I emailed Valley Ride for more information. When I received no reply to my query in 24 hours, I called instead. That's when I learned that, despite what it says on the website and in Valley Ride's current schedule, annual passes are not available. I'd have to buy a $165 six-month pass, which is still a savings over the $36 monthly rate, but not as good as the $266 full-year deal.

Moreover, I learned that you have to drive to Meridian to buy a six-month bus pass. The fast-growing Boise suburb of Meridian is the geographical center of the Treasure Valley these days, but it's not exactly centrally located for folks in Boise, many of whom (lower-income people, students, refugees, etc) are more likely than suburbanites to need bus service.

Then again, I'm guessing many of the people who most need bus service can't or don't need to pay $165 at a time for a semi-annual pass. Many probably buy monthly passes (which are available at half price to seniors, disabled folks, and those on Medicare); others may get them through agencies like the WCA that help people in need.

Still, why not sell six-month passes available in several valleywide locations? And why did Valley Ride do away with the annual pass?

2 comments:

alaskaray0 said...

Is there a bus to take you to Vally Rides offices to by the annual.....err, 6 month pass? Or do you have to walk, take a cab or drive a car to get there?

Julie in Boise said...

Alaskaray0,

I actually wrote about that on the next post up. Here's the scoop:

"Fun fact: It is a mile-and-a-half from the Valley Ride HQ to the nearest public transit stop, the Park-and-Ride at the intersection of I-84 and Meridian Road, on the southeastern side of the highway by Gold's Gym. As far as I can tell (and maybe Mark can set me straight if I am wrong!), the commuter-oriented #40 Nampa Express is the only bus that stops there. So theoretically, if you needed or wanted to buy a six-month pass and didn't have a car, you could ride to that stop via the 8:21 a.m. bus from 8th and Idaho, arriving at 8:40; hike the mile-and-a-half to downtown Meridian, where the Valley Ride office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and hang out all day before catching the next bus back to Boise at 3:16 p.m."

Kind of inconvenient, eh?!?