The best bus ever

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Statesman: Transit's time has come

The Idaho Statesman has the first of a four-part editorial series on gas prices in Idaho. Today's installment is headlined "Gas prices boost need for better Valley transit." A snip:

ValleyRide is a skeletal system now. Most of its buses operate once an hour - twice an hour during rush hours - Monday through Friday, with service ending by 7 p.m. A few Boise routes run Saturdays with even shorter hours and fewer runs. That's it.

If you work past 6 p.m. or so, or want to take an evening bus to a Downtown Boise restaurant, you're out of luck. If you're not willing or able to wait a half hour or more until the next bus comes, you're out of luck. If you don't live near one of the area's few bus lines, you're out of luck.

Critics look at the mostly empty buses that run on ValleyRide's city rides and ask: Why should we pour even more public money into it?

Because if we build it right, riders will come. The experiences of Salt Lake City and Denver prove that. The surge in ValleyRide's intercounty service proves the local need.

Read it all here. It'll be interesting to see whether the 2009 legislature heeds this call. Gas prices were on the rise during last winter's session, but not like they are now. Will $4 a gallon, or maybe $5, be the point at which our lawmakers finally, beleatedly acknowledge reality and give us a shot at building more robust bus choices?

Bear this in mind, too, when you cast your votes in November: Which state legislature candidates have pledged to work for better transit, and which stand in the way of that goal?

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