CHAPTER VII - TRANSPORTATION
B. TRANSIT SYSTEM (BUS)
The Kalamazoo Metro Transit System (METRO), established in 1967 provides inter and intra-city bus services within the Kalamazoo urbanized area. It covers nearly 88 square miles, serving almost 85% of the population of the urbanized area including the City of Kalamazoo and surrounding cities and townships.
1. Public Transit Funding
Two sets of programs are considered in the Public Transportation Plan for the Kalamazoo area due to their significant funding differences: Capital Improvement Program and Operating Program.
a. Capital Improvement Funding
The Capital Plan essentially earmarks funds necessary for equipment and facilities such as fleet replacement and facility improvement programs. Often capital costs can be deferred when faced with financial constraints. Both Metro Transit's and Care-A-Van's primary sources of capital funding come from:
a) federal operating assistance
The Operations Program identifies and allocates the necessary funds for system operations at a desired service level. Operating costs cannot be deferred or reduced without major service changes or cutbacks. Both Metro Transit and Care-A-Van systems propose to continue to operate at their current levels of service. There are no major proposals for service changes over the 20-year plan period. However, in compliance with ADA requirements, Metro Transit has identified costs attached with providing full ADA paratransit service beginning in 1997. These have been added to the operating costs in their 20-year plan.
The Kalamazoo Transit Authority (KTA), a "city only" transit authority created under Act 55 of the Michigan Public Acts of 1951, assists Metro Transit in its operations. KTA has the authority to levy dedicated property tax, float bond issues, and place millage issues on an election ballot, enabling other jurisdictions to establish "purchase of service" agreements with the City of Kalamazoo.
The different sources and amounts of funding for Metro Transit and Care-A-Van systems over the 20-year plan period are given in the following table.
2. Existing Service
a. Fixed-Route Services
Coverage and Service Span METRO provides line-haul public transit service to the Kalamazoo urbanized area comprised of the Cities of Kalamazoo, Portage and Parchment and the Townships of Comstock, Kalamazoo and Oshtemo. It currently operates thirteen regularly scheduled routes (Table VII-5) over 254 miles of roadway (Figure VII-5). Most of the routes are radial in nature and emanate from downtown Kalamazoo. METRO also provides three other fixed route services that operate completely within the City of Portage under a contract with that city. The hours of transit service are between 6:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:15 a.m. through 6:45 p.m., on Saturdays. There are no late evening or Sunday services. Frequency of service is at either 30 minute, 45 minute, 60 minute or 120 minute intervals, depending upon the route.
There are 60 bus-passenger shelters located throughout the transit route system. These shelters provide bus route and schedule information as well. METRO also has installed approximately 1000 bus stop signs located throughout the system. Both these facilities are maintained under private sector contracts to reduce operating expenses. Fares vary depending upon passenger type - adults are charged $1.00, students (between ages 6-14) are charged $0.85, senior citizens and disabled persons are charged only $0.50 with a Metro Transit Identification Card during midday (10:00 AM - 3:00 PM) weekdays and Saturdays. Further incentives are in the form of SMART monthly passes with unlimited rides for $30, 25-ride passes for $22, student 20-ride passes for $15 and senior/disabled 25-ride passes for $11.
RidershipThe average daily boardings for a weekday is around 5,300 and that for a Saturday averages around 4000. Most boardings occur during midday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., with an average of 27 passengers per hour throughout the system. Boardings tend to decrease rapidly after 6:00 p.m.
TABLE VII-5Kalamazoo Metro Transit Route System Characteristics
Figure VII-5 Metro Transit Routes
b. Paratransit Services
Coverage. Since 1984, Kalamazoo County, through the Care-A-Van program has been providing paratransit services for disabled clients of sponsoring human service agencies as well as non-affiliated persons with disabilities in the urban and rural areas of the county. It is financially assisted by both federal and state agencies. Dial-a-Tram, a private non-profit transportation service formed in 1989, has intermittently (because of funding shortfalls) provided paratransit service for persons with disabilities, including times of day when Care-A-Van is not operating. Both these demand-responsive services are distinctly separate from METRO Operations. They do not, in their present form, meet the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit service requirements in the urbanized area.
Recognizing that the capacity constraints identified in the above services were not in compliance with the mandates of ADA, METRO formulated an initial plan for implementation of paratransit service in January 1992. However, mainly due to a paucity of funding sources, actual operation of the service started only in July 1994, when METRO contracted with Kalamazoo County Transportation, Inc. (KCTI) to provide paratransit services. METRO expects its paratransit service to be in full compliance with ADA regulations no later than January 1997, the latest date permitted under the law. The current service hours match those of the existing line-haul service. The actual number of paratransit vehicles used in 1995 was 3.
Ridership. By 1995, 202 individuals had been certified as ADA paratransit eligible in the Kalamazoo urbanized area.
3. Transit Improvements
With the exception of the usual funds for fleet replacement and the regular operation of transit in the urbanized area, there are no other major funded transit capital or operational improvement projects have been programmed to the year 2015.
The non-funded (monies lacking) transit projects include the construction of new bus garage and related equipment for the Care-A-Van service.
4. Inter and Intra-State Transit
Indian Trails provides inter and intra-state bus services in the Kalamazoo urban area. Services are between: Chicago-Kalamazoo-Flint-St. Ignace, Kalamazoo-O'Hare Connector, Chicago-Flint-St. Ignace, and Chicago-Kalamazoo-St. Ignace. Passengers can board their bus at the train station located just north of Kalamazoo Avenue between Rose and Burdick Streets.
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