Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cherriots Proposes Core Network and Cancels two Express Routes

The Cherriots Board meets on Thursday the 27th, and they'll be talking about a couple of cancelled routes as well as a proposal for a "Core Network." (Full packet here.)

Proposal for Core Network, July 2017
(list of corridors added to graphic)
The Board will consider a new formal policy for a "Core Network":
WHEREAS, Salem Area Mass Transit District, hereafter referred to as “District,” recognizes the need to establish a Core Network of bus service corridors in Salem and Keizer that represents the highest priority for service.

WHEREAS, the District will ensure riders, residents, developers, businesses, and municipal planning organizations know where the District plans to invest the most in transit service.

WHEREAS, the District’s routes serving the corridors of the Core Network may change over time. Service along these corridors will be maintained and prioritized, both in the case of service reductions and service expansions
So this looks like the start of a greater commitment to frequent service corridors and something that could easily grow into the start of one or more Bus Rapid Transit lines.

There's not a whole lot of background in the Staff Report, so it's not clear how this relates to the service redesign of a couple years back or if it is growing out of some other planning process. (If you follow Cherriots closely, you will know more!)

In any case, it looks promising, especially the "Center and Marion Street Bridges" part!

The Board is also looking at a couple of cancellations.

One is the Grand Ronde Express, which the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, who provides most of the funding, put out for bid, and Cherriots declined to renew their bid to operate it. Apparently it started as something mainly for employee commutes to the Casino, but cheap gas put a dent in that. Cherriots found that they were subsidizing about 40% of the cost, and decided that it was not sustainable.

Airport Road Park and Ride, Route 15x to be cancelled
The other is the Airport Park and Ride for State employees. In the just-completed session, the Legislature discontinued funding for it in 2018.

This could be shortsighted!

The Staff Report, however, give no ridership data, and it is not clear how much commute traffic and how many parking cars this program was taking out of the downtown area.

In the Q3 "Performance Report," it looks like in January, February, and March it averaged about 128 boardings per day. By comparison the West Salem Connector had 58/day, the Wilsonville Express had 137/day, and corridors like Market, Lancaster, Commercial/River Road well over 1,000/day.

So maybe this Airport route was not high-performing, either.

Anyway, no great conclusions here, but something to watch and to see if something new and more effective is programmed as a result of the new funding the Legislature passed as well as new conversations arising out of the City's forthcoming transit committee. 

The Salem Area Mass Transit District Board of Directors meets Thursday the 27th, at 6:30pm, in Courthouse Square, the Senator Hearing Room, 555 Court St NE


Jim Scheppke said...

Regarding the Airport Park and Ride, in a better world state employees would not park and ride, they would live in biking and walking distance from their jobs in Salem! Maybe that is starting to happen more. I hope so.

Walker said...

The park and ride is primarily used by state employees who are checking out a motor pool vehicle for a trip; most state employees drive to the airport park and ride, where they get to leave their cars inside the locked fence, check out a motor pool car, and then pick up their car on their return. Since many lengthy trips end at weird hours, it's not surprising that many people want to have their own car waiting for them when they return -- so that's a big reason that this particular route is uneconomic.

This is situation where networked transportation companies could fill a useful niche -- you get back from Eastern Oregon at 11 p.m. -- instead of paying cab fare back to your office (which the state would pay), the state could agree that folks within a certain radius of Salem can hail a Lyft or Uber to take them home.

Mike said...

The Airport Park and Ride is part of a larger problem, namely the Motor Pool and the State's attitude towards employee parking. Why is it so far away from all of the offices? Couldn't they have found a more convenient location? I do end up driving there and leaving my car until I return because of how inconvenient it is for me to go to my office near the Capitol mall, go to the downtown transit mall, go to the Park and Ride and do everything in reverse when I get back. I've tried biking there but their bike parking is pathetic. They even had their outside picnic bench in front of the staff bike rack. It's also ridiculous that there are many state employees who check out a car to go up to Portland but DAS and the Motor Pool won't make a carpooling system where employees can see who is going to Portland, when and when they are returning. It doesn't seem like a giant technological leap.

Finally, I don't know what the use rate for the free bus pass program for State Employees is, which was only good if you worked in the downtown area, but in my office it was pathetic. People rather drive and try to find parking somewhere than take a free bus. This leads me to believe that until parking is reduced and more expensive, a free bus system will not entice most people to use it.

Cherriotsrider8 said...

Although disappointing they are canceling the 15X, every time I saw it go by the transit mall it was almost always empty. The most people I saw on it was 4 people during rush hour. Glad the state didn't force Cherriots to fund it.

The 2X discontinuation is also disappointing, but the casino will contract with someone else now. I feel they could have extended and re routed the 50X Dallas Express to make it hit the Rickreal Park and Ride and continue it to Grand Ronde. It may cost more and slow down the route a bit, but you are eliminating duplicated service and you can have the Grand Ronde Tribe help cover costs