More people are riding the bus in the Roaring Fork Valley than ten years ago. That’s according to new data gathered by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, or RFTA. The agency conducted a ridership survey in March for the first time in a decade. To learn more, APR's Elise Thatcher talks with transportation expert Jim Charlier. His firm Charlier Associates is reviewing the survey results. One trend he sees is fewer people driving, because more are telecommuting.
RFTA says the spring survey was designed to review how people are using bus services and why, as well as how riders combine the bus with other forms of travel, like walking or carpooling. The agency also asked about riders' opinions on those different options. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is conducting a summer survey, which will also focus on those factors. That’s because summer ridership is very different from the ski season. You can take that survey here. The results from both surveys will help officials pinpoint investments in bus operations as well as "capital and infrastructure priorities." As to whether the RFTA may use the information to help arrange for more parking at BRT stops, RFTA's Director of Planning David Johnson says this:
"[The survey] will be one source of information that will help RFTA make more informed decisions about parking; however, parking is a complicated issue in this region, where land is scarce and community character and aesthetics are paramount. It will require more than this survey to make appropriate choices."
Johnson says other factors include whether to build parking above or below ground and the costs related to that, as well as whether having lots of parking outside of downtown areas is ultimately beneficial for the local economy.