A Response to Laura White’s Recent Post about Riding the Bus

By Erin Venable, Marketing Director, Waco Transit

Thank you, Laura White, for your recent foray into Waco’s public transportation system! Your recent blog post helped shine some light on why a robust public transportation system is so very important for our community.

You are correct in your conclusion that riding the bus can be time-consuming – we would love to increase the number of vehicles we run to decrease the wait and route time. However, until we receive an increase in funding, we are limited in what we can offer. Additionally, we are working hard to serve a rapidly expanding urban area with our already stretched-tight resources. We hope that stories like yours will help raise community awareness and public will to support that much-needed investment.

As for your experience riding our buses, I am sorry it was not as pleasant as it could have been. I want to make sure that you and our other Waco riders know about the services we offer that can help make using our current system easier.

Because we recognize that riding a city bus for the first time (and navigating the routes/time points) can indeed be intimidating, we offer free travel training upon request. In this training we take individuals or groups through the ins and outs of reading a bus map, planning a route, tracking the bus, and actual boarding and disembarking from the vehicle. We work with many local schools, social service organizations, and other community partners to make riding the bus as easy as possible for those who want to take advantage of our system. (If you are interested in arranging such a class for your group or organization, please email Denise Rodriguez at deniser@ci.waco.tx.us.)

mapAdditionally, one new development we recently rolled out is our free GPS app, which allows riders to track the buses as they move along the routes. The Ride Systems app can be downloaded on any smart phone, and users can see the route in its entirety, where the bus is currently, and the expected time of arrival for the main stops along the route. We feel like this has revolutionized the bus riding experience in Waco, and we have been working since our January roll-out to market the fact that this tool is available. (If you would like to track the routes via your desktop computer, please visit www.ridewaco.com .)

We do have some exciting plans in the pipeline that we feel would address many of our current challenges, but we need the public to rally around public transportation and encourage the powers-that-be to increase funding so that we can make needed changes and improve public transportation in this city. While we are thankful to have the support of many city and community leaders, we need citizens to speak up and make their requests known in our Downtown Transportation Study surveys, our MPO meetings, and wherever else you have a voice.

We would love to hear from you! Visit www.wacotransitsystem.com to fill out a Downtown Waco Transportation Study survey.

Also, The Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is in the process of identifying transportation needs for Metropolitan Waco through the year 2040. They have invited all interested people to make their priorities known. You can submit feedback in writing until June 15. Suggestions may be submitted by fax at (254) 750-1605, by e-mail to mpo@ci.waco.tx.us or by mail directed to Christopher Evilia at the following address: Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization, P.O. Box 2570, Waco, Texas 76702-2570. Please take a moment to urge them to make improving public transportation a priority. Transportation is an important issue for all of us!  

erin.venableThis Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Erin Venable. Erin, a Waco native, is the Marketing Director at Waco Transit. In addition to her work at Waco Transit, she also moonlights as a mother of five (ages 5 – 13) and serves on the Keeping Your Sanity board. Erin and her family are preparing to move to Cameroon via Antioch Ministries International and the Medical Centers of West Africa, where she hopes, among other things, to continue dialoguing about her beliefs and passions. If you would like to write for the Act Locally Waco blog, please contact Ashley Thornton by email at ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org.

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