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Keep those buses rolling

Posted: September 15, 2013 - 12:07am

Juneau’s city planners have stated that more public transit is needed, particularly if the Willoughby District is ever to evolve into a mixed-use neighborhood.

Transportation planners are likewise holding public workshops and getting some members of the public involved in the challenges faced by changing transit patterns.

What makes public transit in Juneau highly inconvenient — and certainly not reliable for those without cars on key days — is the city’s transit cutoff on major holidays and those ridiculously short schedule hours on Sundays.

Want to get to Bartlett hospital on Sunday? On weekdays the first buses on Routes 3 and 4 roll around 7:30 a.m., but on Sundays you can sleep in — the first bus is Route 3’s 9:35 a.m. run.

Don’t visit too long though — the last outbound bus rolls at 5:22 p.m. on route 3; the last inbound bus on Route 4 leaves at 6:05 p.m.

But say you have a job, and your day runs a little long on Sunday. You’re out of luck. Same for those who might want to shop at Fred Meyer while much of Juneau is having supper.

The sidewalks don’t exactly roll up late Sunday afternoons/early evenings, people still need to get around.

Is there no demonstrated need for public transit on holidays and Sunday mornings and evenings, or is that a self-fulfilling prophecy because the service has not been offered and marketed in Juneau?

And, on holidays, come on, not everyone sits around the house. Someone still probably needs to get over to Aunt Mabel’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, or turn out for Fourth of July fun in Downtown or Douglas. (OK, you’re not going to roll a bus through either of those parade routes, unless it’s decorated as a float, but people still need to get near those venues.)

If the city can’t afford to lengthen hours on Sundays or roll regular buses on holidays it should develop an alternative, perhaps a skeleton service with fewer stops, and hours apart.

People who can’t afford a $30 or more cab ride should not have to limit their activities because the transit service is running on banker’s hours.

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