Report Recommends Improvements To City Public Transportation System

Community leaders are focusing on transportation issues as they try to fight poverty in our area. Some recommendations to improve public transportation in Springfield were recently released in a report.

The Transportation Task Force is a part of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks'  effort to fight poverty. They came up with this report and recommendations after researching transportation challenges in Springfield.

"Most of the buses are late," said Bradley Morrison, who says he ride the bus almost daily. 

"It's two hours just to get from one side of the station to the other," said Andrea Andrews, also a bus rider. 

Morrison and Andrews depend on the bus to get around town like many in Springfield. The Task Force came up with several recommendations with people like them in mind.

"I've always felt for the city to look at public transportation as a service, just as they do with fire, with police," said Irwin Cohen, chairman of the Task Force. 

One of the recommendations is to increase the frequency of buses. Something riders agree with.

"Every fifteen minutes they should have the buses, on Saturday and Sunday," said Andrews. 

City Utilities says staff continuously look for ways to improve the bus system, but for now, they will be replacing 11 of their older buses with new ones in the next two years. That's after a $3.8 million grant from the Department of Transportation.

"An average life expectancy for this size and use is usually around 350,000 miles, and we are approaching somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 miles," said Joel Alexander, communications manager at City Utilities.    

Another recommendation of the Task Force is a program to reimburse those who give someone a ride."

"Church organizations could sponsor this, the city itself could sponsor it," said Cohen. 

Another is a bicycle program, where citizens can rent a bike at one location and return it at another.

The report also suggests employers creating shuttle programs for employees and the city welcoming transportation services like Uber and Lyft.

City planners are currently working on an ordinance concerning ride-sharing companies to bring to City Council in the coming weeks.

Another item on the list of recommendations is using school buses for public transportation after school hours.

The Task Force hopes the information in the report can help improve public transportation in Springfield.

"I think if Springfield is going to grow, it needs to grow with a robust public transportation," Cohen said. 

 To view the entire report, click here. 
 

 


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