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START Bus has recently started an important project called the 2020-2025 Route Plan that will determine the future of how START’s routes can operate more effectively with maximum service effectiveness. The long-term strategic transit plan for START is established in the Jackson/Teton County Integrated Transportation Plan (the ITP is available at www.jacksontetonplan.com/239). The purpose of this START Routing Plan is to evaluate routing alternatives that will increase ridership and reduce vehicle miles traveled, the central tenant of the ITP.
(Survey open until September 18, 2019)
This Route Plan study is critical to improving ridership, making transit more competitive with driving, and maximizing existing resources of the 63,000 START bus hours. Given that the 2020-2025 Route Plan alternatives will be limited by the existing resources, some of the routing actions or potential changes contemplated may not happen immediately. This Route Plan will consider, among other things: routing options, service delivery modes, and supporting infrastructure needs (park and ride lots, bus stop improvements, hubs). This will be accomplished through a series of steps that include:
· Analysis of existing routes
· Development of route alternatives
· Technical analysis of the alternatives
· Public input and review of the alternatives
· Recommended alternative and final plan
As the planning process moves forward over the next several months, community input will be a key project aspect throughout.
The START 2020‐2025 Route Plan, process includes a robust public outreach plan to support the plan development and ensure implementation. The public outreach goal is to connect with as many people as possible through a public involvement effort that engages key partners, stakeholders, and constituents throughout the entire planning process via five phases of public engagement and outreach.
Phase 1 – Stakeholder Interviews, Community Familiarization: Initial stakeholder interviews with key partners, decision-makers, staff, and rider group representatives. This phase also included in-depth community and route familiarizations and was completed June 24th through 26th.
Phase 2 – Rider Survey, Focus Groups, Driver Meeting, General Community Survey: As part of the evaluation of the existing services, there will be an onboard rider survey (printed in English and Spanish) to solicit input on existing service and unmet needs. This phase also includes three different focus group meetings to solicit input on the current service and future needs – the representation of these groups will be determined in partnership with START. Other aspects of this phase include a broad community survey (online) and a driver meeting. This phase is scheduled for August 14th through 16th.
Phase 3 – Route Options Workshop: Following development of possible options, there will be a public workshop and open house to review the route options and seek input. A fun, participatory prioritization exercise will be a part of the workshop. This is scheduled for January and will include an Advisory Committee meeting, as well as a presentation to the START Board of Directors.
Phase 4 – Community Survey on Route Options: An online survey (in English and Spanish) will be created for additional feedback on the options for anyone in the community to complete. This survey will follow the January 2020 trip for the Route Options Workshop and will be open for at least three weeks.
Phase 5 – Draft Presentation: The draft Recommended Route Plan will be presented to the START Board and the Town of Jackson Town Council. This is scheduled for early March 2020.