Juneau bus service needs improvement

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Earlier this month I spent a week in Fairbanks. I enjoyed it greatly, but its bus service made me proud of the people in my Juneau hometown.

Fairbanks buses run once an hour. There are six different routes and they cover most of the borough, but Fairbanksans are under-utilizing the service. Not one bus in my visit was full, not once did anyone have to stand; in fact, most of the buses didn't have even 10 people on board, including the driver.

Juneau buses are routinely uncomfortably full. I think it's time that the city and the Capital Transit sit down and work out different routes of differing lengths and localities. I'm sure it could be done so that people in the outlying regions could get downtown in a half hour. That would draw in more riders at the same time that it would relieve the congestion on the regular runs.

I know, we have the university express and that helps. But perhaps we could have shopping runs or job runs or quickie runs. Maybe we could think of it as a shuttle feature.

If we don't do that, I think that we should go to 15-minute service. We don't want to discourage the excellent riding habits of Juneau bus riders.

One way that Fairbanks has it over Juneau is with its system of day passes. A $3 pass - or $2, if you are a student or a senior - lets you jump on and off the bus all day long, which is especially helpful if you go to town only once or twice a week.

Elva Bontrager


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