Tuesday, June 15, 2010

my response to the Mayor....

Mayor Summey,

I appreciate your response. My issue is to do with the apparent lack of policy or processes in place at CARTA, and what seems to be a total disregard for the passengers, I've just moved into this area and have no clue as to who the Northwood Estate Neighborhood Council is and who exactly they represent. Something tells me it comes back to a case of the "haves" vs. the "have nots". What process did CARTA follow to verify the issue, and what alternatives were discussed? Was there a study done? What about public hearings to address the needs and concerns of the passengers utilizing these stops, which should be CARTA's first priority? Where do I find a record of this? Why wasn't a stop put in place on Rivers and Greenridge heading towards Charleston? The first change was over a month ago and there are still no signs at the stops or on the buses to advise customers of these changes, nor is there a notice on the website. Because some of the drivers still don't know about the changes and still follow the original route, this leads to confusion for occasional passengers.

It's funny that every driver and passenger I've spoken with says the traffic issue is bogus, as do the property managers of my apartment complex. If you're driving behind a bus, you know it's going to stop. Which takes about two minutes. As to the road construction, I rode the buses every day last week (because even the drivers weren't notified of the changes) and there was no problem with the buses getting through. Peter Tecklenburg informed me when I called in about the first unannounced change that CARTA was expecting the road construction to start back in April so it shouldn't have been a surprise, and an alternative plan should have been in place.

The bottom line is the tenants of all the apartment complexes in my area, the students of the technical school, and employees of Dial America who utilize these stops are basically out of luck because we don't have a "neighborhood council" to represent us! Coming from Charleston we can get off at the convenience store and cross eight lanes of traffic at an extremely busy intersection. Going to Charleston or coming from the direction of Trident Medical Center we have the option of the stops about a mile away at either Kmart or Northwoods Mall, neither of which is easy or especially safe to walk to. In my book, a good public transportation system should be efficient, convenient, safe, dependable, affordable, and focused on it's passengers. At this point, after riding CARTA for ten months, I have to say it hits the mark when it comes to being affordable. I would be more than willing to pay double for my monthly pass if CARTA stepped up to the plate regarding the rest of those requirements!

I've already had to cut my ridership in half due to these issues, and will be cutting it even further. I feel sorry for those passengers who are stuck with substandard public transportation because they have absolutely no other choice. I would love to challenge you and the other board members to put on your walking shoes, and make the trip back and forth to work with me a few times. Maybe that would put things in perspective before any more changes are made without taking the needs of CARTA's passengers into account.

Thank you again for your response.

Kathi Dubuque

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