In an excellent guest post at the Boise Guardian, Bikeboy says a mouthful about Treasure Valley growth, air quality, and leadership (or lack thereof). He writes that he wants to elect a mayor who would support "improved mass transit, both rhetorically and monetarily. Mass transit will always have to be subsidized by the taxpayers, just like the roads. But I don’t think
it’s adequate to just keep throwing taxpayer dollars at the current system, which is obviously of very limited value to very few citizens.
"Perhaps the traditional 'spoke and hub' system has run its course. Maybe it’s time to explore alternatives, like shuttle buses for downtown and other business/office centers, more park-and-ride lots out at the periphery, etc. I am NOT an expert, but I know people will be reluctant to ride a bus that’s a major inconvenience at both ends."
I think we need to keep the spoke-and-hub system, mainly because it serves people who have no other transportation, or who choose to use it (and who live close enough to do so). I'd argue somewhat with the "major inconvenience" statement. Aside from lack of service in the evenings and Sunday, I find it very easy to ride the bus from my close-in home on the Bench. Yes, it often takes planning to make my schedule mesh with the once-and-hour midday bus runs, but it can be done.
Still, Bikeboy's right that the system needs to be configured to take traffic off of I-84, via shuttle buses, more park-and-rides (since the commuter routes are a hit), and other services that will help curb the area's growing traffic and air quality woes. He also has a lot of creative ideas for bike paths along canals, bike-friendly workplaces, and restrictions on parking lots, and he hammers home the key point: that if we all chose to live closer to our work, this would not be happening. Check it out.