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Get on the Bus, Charles 

Letter to the editor.

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." Those opening words in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities comes to my mind when describing 2010, though not nearly so extreme.

Most people who know me for more than a short time are aware that I'm persistently advocating for Bend public transit.

2010 was not the "best of times" for enhancing Bend Area Transit (BAT) for at least two reasons: Bend still does not have fixed-route transit service on Sundays; and Bend has not promoted the use of BAT to alleviate the problem of downtown parking.

Despite its frozen budget, I have presented a means for BAT to provide fixed-route Sunday service without need of any additional subsidizing.

The round-trip cycle of each BAT fixed-route is 40 minutes. I have advocated for each Monday through Friday, one service break midday (noon to 12:40) a mere 40 minutes when many businesses close for a full hour. Those five-day accumulations of 40 minutes would allow five Sunday runs, with no additional operating costs (of wages, etc.). Furthermore, there would be the bonus of additional revenue from the Sunday bus fares. (BAT's present Saturday runs have seven 40-minute service breaks.)

The most effective way to alleviate downtown parking is through fewer vehicle trips. Cities noted for excellent public transportation provide parking at transit stations where motorists can then take public transit to downtown as I did to downtown Chicago office for 31 years when I lived in its suburbs. Yet Bend has failed to promote motorists parking at BAT's Hawthorne Station.

The Public Transportation Advisory Committee (PTAC) meeting minutes way back on March 12, 2008 show approval of my suggestion that a book of six free passes be given to each participant of a "Ride the BAT" program introduction and that it would "immediately implement the suggestion," but the suggestion has never been implemented.

Nevertheless, 2010 wasn't "the worst of times" with regard to BAT. In addition to upgraded buses and some other refinements, BAT fixed-route service will now include Romaine Village (for which I first advocated four years ago).

In summary - with respect to Bend Public Transportation - 2010 was not been as good as it should have been, but neither was it as bad as it could have been. In any event, aside from the matters of Bend Transit, 2010 has been a pretty good year for me personally - if for no reason other than that I (in my 80s) have not been named in any obituary notice.

Furthermore, though some of Bend's past enhancements have come about slowly - sometimes seeming like eating soup with a fork - I am optimistic that Bend will enjoy (though perhaps slowly) future enhancements. On that note, I will close with...

Happy New Year!


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