Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012
AATA moves forward with next step toward countywide Transit Authority
Filing of Articles of Incorporation provides Washtenaw County communities
the opportunity to formally participate in new transit organization
ANN ARBOR – The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) board of directors approved a resolution today requesting that the Washtenaw County Clerk file Articles of Incorporation for a proposed new transit authority that would operate new transit services in participating Washtenaw County communities.
The Articles of Incorporation filing, done in cooperation with representatives from communities throughout Washtenaw County, is the first step in creating a new countywide transit authority. Each community in Washtenaw County has 30 days after Articles of Incorporation filing to formally engage in the governance of the new authority.
Participating communities will share in board representation, new and expanded services, and an authority-wide funding mechanism if approved by voters.
Communities that do not participate may not have service or board representation.
“People understand the need for improved mass transit in Washtenaw County,” said Jesse Bernstein, an AATA board member and former chairman who has helped shepherd the countywide transit initiative. “In August, 27 out of 28 public transportation millages were passed throughout the State of Michigan.”
“Significant gaps exist in the services being provided now. Some areas of Washtenaw County have no service whatsoever. We need to ensure our growing elderly population is able to remain independent.”
“Good, affordable public transportation promotes a healthier quality of life, attracts businesses and jobs locally and helps spur economic development throughout our region,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein explained that public transit connects workers to jobs, customers to businesses, students to classrooms, diners to restaurants and audiences to entertainment and sports events, and that rising gas prices continue to make commuting alone unaffordable.
“The support for mass transit and countywide service is overwhelming – 70 percent of Washtenaw County residents believe it’s important,” said AATA Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Ford.
“We all know someone who depends on or benefits from public transportation. Our region needs better options for its residents and visitors to connect, prosper and thrive,” Ford added. “The AATA is recognized among the nation’s most innovative and sound fiscal stewards of taxpayer resources. We and our community partners believe a new transit authority can provide new and improved services that offer immediate and long-term transportation benefits to Washtenaw County residents.”
AATA will notify elected officials from each city, village and township in Washtenaw County alerting them to the County’s filing the Articles of Incorporation. The proposed transit service improvements for all Washtenaw County communities include:
Countywide Dial-A-Ride (door to door) service throughout Washtenaw County for seniors and people with disabilities and Dial-A-Ride PLUS (door to nearest fixed route) for all residents with service hours of Monday through Friday from 6:30AM to 8:00PM and Saturday from 8:00AM to 6:30PM.
Fixed Route Service Improvements in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding townships: Restructure West Ann Arbor routes: increasing frequency and extending weekday and weekend hours (120% increase). Improving Key Corridors: more frequent and extended weekday and weekend hours on Routes 2,3,4,5,6,7 (46% increase). Restructure the Ypsilanti routes and extend into neighboring townships: increasing frequency and extending weekday and weekend hours (151% increase), and other improvements to Routes 1, 16, 17, and 22 (8% increase).
Express Ride Service during peak hours to/from Ann Arbor and Chelsea (increased to 6 trips to Ann Arbor/7 returns), Canton (increased to 5 trips/6 returns), Saline (new service 7 trips/8 returns), Dexter (new service 8 trips/10 returns), Brighton/Whitmore Lake (new service 7 trips/8 returns), Ypsilanti Township/Belleville (new service 5 trips/6 returns), and Plymouth (new service 5 trips /6 returns).
Community Circulators (variable hours) in Chelsea (Mon-Sun, every 45 min), Saline (Mon-Sat, hourly), Dexter (Mon-Sat, Mon-Fri, every 45 minutes, Sat, every 30 min), and Milan (Mon-Sat, hourly)
Community Connectors (variable hours) between Chelsea, Dexter, and Ann Arbor, (Mon-Sun, hourly); between Milan and Pittsfield (Mon-Sat. every other hour); Manchester and Chelsea (Mon-Sat, twice per day); and Saline and Ann Arbor (Mon-Sat. every other hour).
Park and Ride Intercept Lots — 800 additional spaces distributed in new lots in or around Northfield Township, Pittsfield Township, Jackson Road, and Ann Arbor/Saline Road.
VanRide Commuter service into and within Washtenaw County
Other Improvements: new/improved bus stops at 150 locations; real-time travel information; new dispatch technology; and bus priority measures.
Annual ridership is estimated to rise to 9.6 million by the fifth year of operations. Over five years, the estimated operating and capital cost of this program is $223 million and estimated revenues are $184 million. The balance of $39 million must be funded locally and requires voters’ approval in the new transit authority area. The Five-Year Transit Program is based on all Washtenaw County communities participating. The new transit authority board will determine any changes to the plan and funding options after incorporation.
“The new transit plan would make a significant impact on the environmental quality, economic affordability and accessibility of all communities within Washtenaw County from 2013-2018,” said Ford.
The full Five Year Transit Program and Articles of Incorporation can be found at www.movingyouforward.org or contact Deb Freer at 734.794.1881 to request a copy.
The latest information on AATA routes, schedules and detours is available
at 734.996.0400 and on the AATA Routes and Schedules page.