Can Public transit in Sioux Falls be fixed? I think so!

While the city is busy recruiting all kinds of people to fix the transit problem (besides just expensive consultants and bureaucrats), which I commend them on, they need to be careful in that process. I’m a firm believer in the fact that too many cooks spoil the stew.

First I think they need to realize a few things that are important to the discussion;

• It will cost money, and will still have to be subsidized. We subsidize many things in our community such as the Pavilion, the EC, the parks system, the Zoo, for example, and like the transit system, many people in the community who fund these entities don’t use them. But we do get something back from subsidizing the transit system; a workforce that is actually contributing to our economy instead depending on the government for living.

• Needs to be expanded city wide and hours of operation. One of the biggest complaints I hear from users is that it doesn’t run 7 days a week and the hours of operation are not long enough. With a 24/7 workforce in a modern city we need a public transit system that reflects that.

• The grid system should be explored. Many have said that it won’t work, but unless we try it, we will never now. The transit problems won’t be fixed overnight, it will take trial and error over a long period of time. Let’s try the grid system. It may also solve shortening ride times (which are also an issue).

• Explore ‘Park and Rides’. This is something they do in larger cities. It may not be something Sioux Falls would embrace, but if the ride is a short and mostly a direct commute, it may appeal to more people.

• Should we continue to contract with a transit management company or should the city take it over? Not sure, but it should be looked at.

• The rate structure should be changed. There should be options based on income, age, family size, etc. I know that some of that stuff is being done right now, but it needs to be more diverse. I also think that when people are starting to use the transit system for the first time, or exploring using it, they should get a 30 day free pass to try it out.

I’m not sure what will come out of the new task force, but I think if they concentrate on solving the simple problems and stop focusing on the raw cost, it is a solvable problem.


#1 D@ily Spin on 12.09.18 at 12:38 pm

Gone are the days of empty buses. I’ve noticed the phenomenal increase of transit use. There are many immigrants and felons who can’t get a drivers license. Many jobs are low wage such that a car is unaffordable. Your focus topics are good. I’d like to add that routes should be convenient to call centers and production plants. Another consideration is that the school district should consider routes to replace some school buses. It’s been hard to find school bus drivers and the operation is somewhat mismanaged.

#2 Jon on 12.09.18 at 1:24 pm

Saw the senior bus dropping off one person at Walmart. Seems unsustainable to me. They need to figure out the senior transport issue. I’ve seen this many times.

#3 Warren Phear on 12.11.18 at 6:48 am

Ridership is down 23% from what it was in 2012. Reason? They raised rates in between than and now. The city number crunchers will tell you, like with any other rate increase, it will not matter!!! But yes, it does matter. A user survey conducted just a few ago showed these demographic numbers. 80 out of 100 users come from households with $30,000 a year or less. 19 cone from households between 30k and 60k. One, I say again, ONE out 100 come households over 60k.

The caveat. In our rush to break the population barrier of 200,000, we will lose a good chunk of federal subsidies for transit. How will SF keep transit afloat? There is really only one way. They will raise property taxes.

#4 Erica on 12.12.18 at 9:59 am

Why does the city own so much stuff in town that is subsidized by the tax payers? We need less businesses in the city that the local Government is involved in not more. Privately owned businesses run more efficiently and effectively and if they don’t easier for those managing or owning the business to make changes or close…all on their own dime.

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