DTA Route Analysis: City of Superior
Study Description: The objective of this study is to analyze Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) service to Superior to see if there is a more efficient way to serve customers and save costs. Work will include the review of past planning studies and recommendations for service, preparation of a base map of the study area and transit routes, inventory of existing route service, identify service inefficiencies, transit service options, public involvement including a rider, driver and non-rider survey, and plan recommendations. Key plan recommendations will outline a series of transit service options and costs for presentation to the City of Superior.
Scope of Work
April 2007: The DTA has asked MIC staff to study and analyze current route structures in the City of Superior. The MIC staff worked with DTA officials to develop surveys for both riders and drivers of the #16 and #17 routes that serve the City of Superior, South Superior and Itasca. The DTA provided the MIC with some preliminary cost estimations, as well as the on/off numbers from the boarding counts that they ran in February. MIC staff will be entering and analyzing April 2007 survey data. The rider survey aimed to gather data on how well Superior riders’ destinations are being met with current route structures and to compile their service suggestions. The driver survey aimed to examine what causes drivers’ delays on current routes and asks for their feedback on how to improve efficiencies. View rider survey and driver survey.
June 2007: The MIC staff used the cost/revenue data, on/off data and survey results to analyze the efficiency of the #16 and #17 routes in the City of Superior. Results were presented to the DTA in a June meeting, during which it was determined that further on/off information was needed to strengthen the analyses. The DTA will be conducting another on/off count in August to provide the MIC with this data. MIC staff plan to examine potential sites for a DTA Transit Hub in Superior and plan to meet with key city staff to discuss current service issues. (View the presentation given to the DTA Operations Committee, TAC and MIC in June 2007). MIC staff will continue to meet with City of Superior and DTA Staff to brainstorm future service models.
September 2007: The DTA provided the MIC with additional on/off counts in the month of August, which were to be used for comparison with counts gathered in February. However, an August 30th press release critical of bus service in the City of Superior prompted the DTA to request meeting between the Mayor’s office, DTA and the MIC, which was held on September 4. From this meeting, the Mayor proposed working with the DTA and the MIC to devise a pilot project to increase service in Superior, rather than seeking ways to decrease it in an effort to make the current service more efficient. This has caused the direction of the study to change. Instead of seeking efficiency through adjusting current levels of service, the new focus of the study is on what an enhanced bus service should look like for Superior, which could include the development of a transit hub. The MIC will continue to meet monthly with the DTA and the City of Superior to examine potential transit service changes, identify funding sources, identify service needs and explore alternative service models.
October 2007: On October 11th MIC and DTA staff met with the Mayor and City Financial Director to discuss funding opportunities, such as Wisconsin Employment Transportation Assistance Program or WETAP, that could be used to run a pilot project in Superior that increases levels of service within the City. The group decided it is too soon to go after funding for a pilot project, what is needed is an examination of what could really work in Superior and what could become self sustaining. Dennis Jensen, DTA General Manager and employee of First Tranit, told the group he'd secure staff from his firm to be on hand in November to examine operational issues in Superior.
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