Rubber tire trolley - bridge the gap before light rail
January 12, 2013 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #529722
A free bus/trolly reminds me of the Denver Free MallRide.
When I visited Denver, I used it all the time to reach restaurants and shops on Denver’s 16th street. A trolly that has a single route of going up and down can be beneficial to everyday commuters, but I think it would cater to the travellers/tourists more. I didn’t need to learn a bus route, I knew the MallRide just went up and down. I think that’s one of the reasons why the bus is painted a bright/obvious color, for out-of-towners to spot.
Or how about Aerial Gondolas as an option? :)January 12, 2013 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #529723
I think the more you get away from high st. the more you go back toward areas where a traditional bus system works. Maybe COTA should run a circulator to those areas.
But having circulator that goes just up and down High st. basically along the potential street car route filled with downtown residents, tourist goes along way to conniving people a street car is needed. You and I both know everyone who doesn’t ride the bus thinks its primarily for poor people. But you get a guy from the suburbs to drive to SN for dinner and then sees everyone hoping on the circulator to go from Hubbard grill up to Spruce to get drinks and that does a lot to change perceptions.
Those are some very good points and I agree that the appeal of a limited High St Downtown/AD/SN is that it will be used by people who have parked somewhere in the area but just want to move around from hotspot to hotspot. Those are the riders of choice who may never have thought of using a bus before. It opens eyes.
The downtown loop also sounds like a good idea, but more of a traditional pay for use COTA route.January 13, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am #529724
From the tourist/out of town perspective:
Just got back from San Juan PR and we found the .50 one way bus fare was far better than the $14 one way cab fare. Maybe it’s because I already use transit regularly but I found it rather easy to use despite the language barrier. Where am I going with this in relation to CMH? Our last day we were in the bus terminal waiting and a Brit tourist approached me (either the whitest non/threatening face or I just looked local) for bus info. She had a laminated map produced by her hotel with basic transit information: points of interest, which lines served which areas and how to ride back to the hotel.
I think if you want to increase non-local use that can ultimately impact ridership and eventually streetcar development, a basic transit guide at all downtown hotels would be a low budget option. Maybe COTA can allow hotels to sell day passes to guests as well.January 13, 2013 1:51 am at 1:51 am #529725
Was asked by a group of obvious out of towners how to get to Basil in the SN this afternoon from down near the Cap. I told them they could hoof it or call 614-777-7777. It would have been great to mention the ‘distinctive free bus/faux trolley’. :)January 13, 2013 2:16 am at 2:16 am #529726
Do tourists really expect free public transit? While I don’t travel as much as I would like, I’ve been to a few major cities (Toronto, Paris, Dallas, Chicago, etc.,) and I’ve never expected free transit. Going thru the thread about what people are interested in, maybe COTA could start charging for distance, for example, New Jersey transit charges via “zones” depending on how far you plan to go on the bus, so going from the court house to Basil might be zone one, but court house to Graceland woud be multiple zones and cost more.
Otherwise, better transit maps would go a long way (in any city).January 13, 2013 2:28 am at 2:28 am #529727
I don’t think tourists expect free transit. The group talking to me asked how people hailed cabs in Columbus. They didn’t look too enthused when I told them Basil was a mile up the street. I don’t use COTA much and I was not about to try and explain it to someone else. Since they didn’t know the area I think it would have been a little ambitious, even with google maps on a smartphone.
I think this rubber tire trolley idea works well with Columbus unique layout of adjoining convention, downtown and Short North hot spots. I am frequently asked how to get from one of these places to another. If it spurs expanded economic activity I think it would be worth it, maybe the business associations could help subsidize it.
I also used the opportunity to plug the Short North Stage to them. :)January 13, 2013 2:40 am at 2:40 am #529728
Get on the #2, put 2 bucks in the machine and pull the cord when you hear next stop:4th avenue.
Most drivers are pretty helpful, at least in my experience.January 13, 2013 3:53 am at 3:53 am #529729
Free transit can certainly be easier for tourists. Case in point is Boston’s silver line from Logan. It was made free because tourists travelling from Logan would be fumbling around for correct fare, asking the driver if this line goes to “X” location, all the while lugging around luggage. This would delay the silver, which in turn made the local commuters arrive late to their final destination.January 13, 2013 5:06 am at 5:06 am #529730
@InnerCore those are some really great transit ideas you have. The downtown to Short North limited free trolley bus is a very good idea and I think it would be great for business along the strip and a calling card for tourism.
I bet businesses along the route would pay decent money (more than typical bus rates) to plaster the inside of it with ads.January 13, 2013 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm #529731
philly doesn’t have free transit and the route isn’t that extensive but it felt harder to learn than the new york MTA system. I don’t think people shouldn’t be overly sensitive about certain issues. We don’t have a big tourism population so don’t worry about the tourist. Focus on the under served market to tie it in with the current attractions and bam you got the makings of a real metro system. It isn’t rocket science.January 13, 2013 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #529732
I remember reading that only about 3% use public transportation for commuting between destinations in Franklin County, 97% use other methods. There are probably a lot of reasons for this, but those numbers are depressing. Personally, I think acclimating groups such as students and ‘riders of choice’ to bus travel will go a long way, even if it starts with better OSU campus routes and free rubber tire trolleys.January 13, 2013 4:23 pm at 4:23 pm #529733
I’d be interested in seeing figures for people that tried public transit once or twice and never again. When I first moved here I didn’t have a drivers license or car so I had to take COTA, but the routes were so slow, and the timing so inconvenient I made learning to drive a priority.
OSU students come from all over, and I’m sure some of them are in similar situations, happy to have a “free” pass, but once its discovered it takes 30 minutes to get to the Lennox, not so keen on using the service.January 13, 2013 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #529734
^ Or that the OSU student High St, Campus, Grandview circulator (#82) stops running at 9pm. It is harder to get riders of choice because…well, they have choices. Hopefully COTA can up its game and with attention to some areas will overcome the perception that the bus is a secondary form of transportation mostly for the poor.January 13, 2013 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm #529735
I’d be interested in seeing figures for people that tried public transit once or twice and never again. …but the routes were so slow, and the timing so inconvenient I made learning to drive a priority.
That is how I remember it. I have a similar story.January 13, 2013 4:41 pm at 4:41 pm #529736
@mrpoppins exactly! When I was a daily bus rider, I worked until 10 p.m. meaning I missed the last “regularly” scheduled bus and needed to wait 45 minutes for the next bus to arrive, finally arriving home (4 miles from my job) at 11:30. That’s not even third shift hours. It’s hard to sustain a captive ridership whose willing to waste an hour and a half of their time to travel 4 miles.
More on topic, I haven’t looked at how the buses label themselves on the travel marquee recently, but maybe the marquee could be updated more frequently as well. A #2 lists itself as “downtown/business district, from Main to Nationwide, and then update to Short North from Nationwide to fifth, giving potential riders a better idea of where the bus is headed. That seems like a simple and inexpensive change that could still go a long way.
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