Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sun Tran offers "How to Ride" clinics

Tucson AZ - The Arizona Daily Star reports on Sun Tran's program for educating Tucson residents about how to ride public transit.

This program is something that should be done everywhere. While it seems illogical to many that people actually don't understand how to ride the bus, many really don't. How to ride your local transit system is something that is rarely taught in school and even if it was, changes over the past 20 years have made your local transit system even more confusing.

From how to read a schedule to using wheelchair lifts, it can be daunting for someone who has never ridden or hasn't ridden in many years. By reaching out to the community and helping to educate them, transit systems can help bolster ridership numbers simply by showing people how easy it is.

Seniors and the disabled tend to be the most confused with riding at first however, your average commuter can be just as confused. Where to board, when to pay and how much, transfers, where the bus goes along with a host of other issues can keep potential ridership off the bus simply because don't understand the operation.

I know when I was young, my local transit system used to offer a program where they would go to schools, senior centers and other locations to teach people about the system and how to use it. Even though I was already well versed in how to ride, I still learned about a few things I didn't know about until that moment.

I see this type of education program as a needed operating expense for public transit systems nationwide. Sadly, this type of program is one that few systems want to put up the money for these days as they are too busy wasting money on useless marketing attempts at attracting new riders. The more people know about how to utilize their transit system, the more likely they will be to utilize it. It's a well proven fact.

Sun Tran gets a Laurel for reaching out to their community, explaining how their system works and how the residents can utilize it.

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