Friday, December 18, 2009

AATA Considering County-Wide Service


Ann Arbor is known for being environmentally friendly, with even it’s name lending a nod toward its green heritage. Public and alternative transportation plays a big role in earth-happy living. Carpooling, biking, walking, and public transportation like buses and trains help reduce the number of one-passenger vehicles on the road, and in turn, the amount of fuel needed to power them, as well as the fumes they emit. Ann Arbor boasts several public transportation options, among them, bike lines, designated bike parking downtown, the Amtrak train line, Michigan Flyer (which travels between Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit airport), Zipcar, and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA). The AATA has served as Ann Arbor’s public bus transportation system for many years, since it was established in 1969, and they’re now taking steps to expand towards providing service throughout Washtenaw County.

AATA Board Chair Paul Ajegba recently said, “Whether people use public transportation or not, everyone benefits from its presence in the community. [Ann Arbor] Home owners are able to retain value in their properties, business owners benefit when public transportation brings customers and employees to their locations, seniors and individuals with disabilities can enjoy increased mobility and parents can count on transit for a safe ride for their children.”

AATA recently surveyed area residents to determine the level of interest in county-wide bus service. The expanded service could be paid for by a county-wide mileage, something area residents would vote on. The AATA is seeking ways to make expanded service affordable, and is talking with other transit providers about how they keep costs down while continuing to provide the same level of service. AATA currently runs 27 public transit routes, as well as paratransit services and carpool-vanpool matching.

Image courtesy Flickr: Carina Ice

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