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Old 01-25-2008, 09:39 PM
9 posts, read 31,677 times
Reputation: 15


Hi: I'm reading on the official website that the public bus service ends at 6PM? No service what so ever on weekends? Pardon me, but you gotta be kidding me!!!!!!! Is this info accurate? Thanks
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:29 PM
Location: Alabama!
5,844 posts, read 15,903,224 times
Reputation: 4323
Yes, it's accurate. You have to have a car.
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Old 01-26-2008, 12:12 AM
263 posts, read 279,890 times
Reputation: 517
Contrary to popular belief, Huntsville is not, IMHO, a big-enough city to have 24 hour bus service, although it would be nice if it was extended until 9-10pm, even if it was just 2-3 routes running.
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Old 01-26-2008, 07:27 AM
13,773 posts, read 33,828,405 times
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I came here from Tampa which is a big city and while they did have some service after 6 pm and on Sat, they were barely able to keep it running for lack of ridership.
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:43 AM
4,740 posts, read 8,771,406 times
Reputation: 4072
Huntsville's bus service barely gets riders either. Watch the empty busses drive by - but we were told mass transit is good for the environment...

There was an article in the Times a few weeks ago about the FREE downtown weekend shuttle bus - and how the bus can go for days without ANY riders.
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:17 AM
2,063 posts, read 6,004,945 times
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^^^I think it is time to give up on the weekend shuttle. I see it all the time and NEVER see anyone in it. I think when a convention is in town or something, then would be a good time to bring it out and bring people from the VBC to restaurants/bars downtown and in 5 Points.
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Old 01-26-2008, 10:22 AM
66 posts, read 192,464 times
Reputation: 46
Citizens and governments around here just aren't willing to give public transit a try. 1500 people use the Shuttle daily- most cities our size have at least twice that on their systems.

So, why is Huntsville's system so bad? One, it isn't effective as a commuter system- there are no routes from the suburbs to major employment clusters such as the Arsenal or Research Park. A metro/regional transit authority would need to be formed to do that. Two, it runs on a very tight budget, funded only by the city and federal governments. The state refuses to amend the Constitution to allow it to fund public transit, claiming it "has no place" in Alabama. And, if the government tries to raise taxes for transit improvements, people here will have a fit. If they can't raise the [nation's lowest] property taxes for education, they certainly won't be able to raise taxes for transit.

What needs to be done? The buses and stops need to be more visible. Reduce the turnover times between buses (right now, they're about an hour). Service needs to be expanded out to the suburbs and to places like the Airport and the Arsenal. Make a plan for future transit options, such as commuter and light rail.

This city's headed for disaster if we continue to just use our cars. We're expected to reach 1 million in the next 25-30 years, and the road improvements needed well exceeds the funding we're going to get. If we continue to have the mentality that we have to drive our cars for everything, Huntsville's going to look like Atlanta and its 24-hour gridlock. That's where we're headed right now if we don't do something.
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Old 01-26-2008, 10:48 AM
4,740 posts, read 8,771,406 times
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I'll point out what does work - AAMU shuttle - and they're now building a new intermodal center (parking garage / shuttle depot). UAH is also building an intermodal center and starting a shuttle service. Reportedly so is Bridge Street / Research Park - and I don't think the Govt is directly involved in that one.

james_hsv - I'll agree to this point: "it isn't effective". We don't have the population density to support a public transit system. I'll also agree that major bus stops need to be more visible (I suggest bus shelters). One fundamental step you didn't include in your public transit comment is the need for sidewalks. Riding buses requires walking - we don't have good sidewalks so IMO buses are premature.

"if we don't do something" - Build more roads
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:20 PM
66 posts, read 192,464 times
Reputation: 46
Uh.... like I said, the amount of road projects needed to handle the extra load of cars we're going to see in the future far exceeds the funding we're going to get. According to a Metropolitan Planning Organization/UA study last year, the area needs $2 billion in road projects completed just to handle the BRAC influx. And according to ALDOT's Five Year Plan, we'll be lucky to see $600 million of that done before 2011. Along with the speed that road projects get done around here and the fact that gas prices are only going to go up, building more roads won't solve the problem.

A bus system can never serve everyone, even in larger metropolitan areas. Only 11% of DC commuters used the Metro/WMATA in the early 2000s, and their system is one of the best in the country. I don't think you'll ever see a transit bus in New Market or Hazel Green. The population just isn't dense enough there, yes. But you pointed out one solution to the density problem- "park and ride" lots like the ones they're building at UAH and Bridge Street. For example, they could be built on the major roads at the edges of the city. People could park their cars there and take an "express bus" to downtown, Research Park or the Arsenal. From there, they could walk to their workplace, or if it's too far, transfer to another bus. The same could be done with a commuter rail/light rail line using the current rail infrastructure in place.

A regional transit system may not sound like a feasible idea right now, but if we don't start planning for one soon, we'll have many more problems down the road (no pun intended).
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Old 01-27-2008, 03:47 PM
Location: Madison, AL
410 posts, read 1,496,235 times
Reputation: 128
HSV's long term transit plan includes expanding the current shuttle route... and that's pretty much it. In other words, a bus system. While this is preferable to nothing, people hate buses. It's true that buses are very flexible -- and Huntsville's growth is very erratic -- but ultimately if people don't want to ride it, they won't, not unless they are too broke to have any other options. I think a park and ride system with light rail routes along the high traffic corridors is smarter for long term growth.

Nor is Huntsville slated for inclusion in a high speed rail corridor (which seems appropriate), but safe, reliable and cost effective mass transit to Nashville, Chattanooga, Birmingham and Atlanta would be a big boost.

Ultimately, HSV just doesn't consider it a priority to plan ahead and this poor planning is starting to reveal itself now. When traffic is backed up bumper to bumper from 6am to 10am and 3pm to 8pm every weekday -- and Athens is now a 2 hour drive to Huntsville -- by then it will be too late and too expensive to put in a light rail system or large park and ride lots. It's expensive NOW because they haven't planned ahead.

Current long range plan:

Frighteningly, they aren't going to widen 72 in Limestone County until 2020! Think what that already overloaded corridor will be like after people move into all those subdivisions they are building out there.
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