Bus goes back into apartment complex
Jan. 22, 2013 — After residents voiced their concern, Lassen Rural Bus (LRB) is going back into the Susan River Apartments parking lot to pickup passengers for the time being.
The matter will be placed on the agenda for the Monday, March 11 meeting of the Lassen Transit Service Agency’s (LTSA) board of directors where staff will provide a more detailed report on the issue. The board can decide to keep the route as is or change it.
Susan River Apartments, located on Riverside Drive, was dropped from the LRB route in December. To access transportation services, residents could use the bus stop on Riverside and Alexander Street.
Concerned citizens brought the issue to the Monday, Jan. 14 meeting of the LTSA board meeting.
Resident Enid Earll said, “We are all low-income, elderly or disabled, it’s the only people who live there.”
Regarding having to access the bus stop location at Riverside Drive and Alexander, Earll said, “It’s not a long way if you’re up to it, however, there’s a lot of ice there right now.”
She shared how the first and only time she accessed the bus stop she stepped out of the bus onto ice. As she headed back to her apartment, the bike trail was also icy, so she walked in the street and oncoming traffic had to go around her.
Another concern Earll addressed was residents having to carry items from the bus stop back to the apartments.
“Being elderly, we take the bus to shop. And for me and for quite a few of us, it’s the only transportation that (we) have. And so when we have our packages, it’s also difficult to walk that far and there is an incline coming out of the apartments and that isn’t good for some people,” she said.
Gary Felt, general manager of Paratransit who has the operating contract with LRB, said the route was dropped because the city route runs on a tight schedule and frequently runs late and staff is always looking for improvements in efficiency of the system while accommodating the riders.
He also mentioned the potential danger as the parking lot of the apartment complex is narrow and when larger vehicles are parked in certain spaces, it can be difficult for the bus to go through. Upon exiting the steep driveway, visibility to the left is restricted due to the curving of the road and the bus must encroach into oncoming traffic coming from the right.
Flyers were posted in the buses when Felt and staff decided to cut Susan River Apartments from the route. Felt said some people asked the drivers why, but he, nor to his knowledge, staff received any calls until after the stop was discontinued.
Felt also told the board, “It’s your call. I’m hesitant to go back, I think it’s potentially a dangerous situation to run a bus up and down that hill especially when it’s slippery.”
The facility manager for Susan River Apartments was also notified that if people could not get to the bus stop, Dial-A-Ride services are available.
Regarding Dial-A-Ride, Earll said, “Also with us being low-income, the bus is 50 cents, the Dial-A-Ride is a $1.40 … that doesn’t sound like much but that’s three times more than the city bus is.”
Board commissioner Rod DeBoer said, “It appears there’s a problem here, and there’s some people being neglected. We can sit here all day and discuss this issue … I think we should take this issue into consideration. There’s a problem that’s been created and I’m saying ‘fix it. Make it right for these people.’”
LTSA commissioner Jim Chapman said he agreed with DeBoer.
“We’ve got to make the system work for the benefit of the people first of all, that’s the bottom line objective. We’ve kind of broke that arrangement right now so we need to fix that on a temporary basis,” Chapman said.
For a long-term solution, Chapman said discussions were needed about dividing the town in half and creating two loops because the service area had become so large.
Staff will also look at starting a second bus on the city route and would bring information back to the March meeting.
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