METRO (Formerly Metro Area Transit - MAT)

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (and Streetcars!).

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Zephyr
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METRO (Formerly Metro Area Transit - MAT)

Postby Zephyr » Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:32 am

Wasn't this thing supposed to be implemented over a year ago?  Seems to me building a streetcar would be much faster...

Getting Around: MAT again delays start of its new bus route system

BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
   


WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER  

People waiting for Metro Area Transit to roll out its new bus route system will have to wait a little longer.

MAT again has delayed the start of a bus plan designed to provide quicker travel and better neighborhood service.

MAT had hoped to start it in early June and then pushed the date to late summer.

Now the start will likely be October, said Curt Simon, MAT's executive director.

MAT has had trouble securing locations for some new bus stops, particularly in the Benson Park area and an area near 24th and Farnam Streets.

Simon said MAT wants to make sure the locations are settled before launching the new system.

"We want to make sure we do it right," he said. "We could rush to do it, but we want to make sure the product we deliver to the public is good and they can rely on it."

MAT wants to attract new riders, he said, and the convenience of the new system should help draw them.

The new system will use 10 neighborhood hubs. Buses will travel in neighborhoods and feed riders to the hubs.

The plan will alter routes that in some cases have been in place for more than 50 years.

Those routes generally send buses to and from downtown. The new system recognizes that Omaha's commuting patterns have changed and that workers now head in all directions across the city.

Simon said that next month MAT will take the final routes and other details of the plan to the public for review.

The plan could be adjusted based on public comments, he said.


http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u ... id=1183226
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eomaha
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Postby eomaha » Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:38 am

So I take it Ruegg is history... is this Simon fellow any better?

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Postby Zephyr » Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:17 pm

From what I've heard, Ruegg left with his tail between his legs and wasn't liked much by the business community. Simon does seem better, and I have heard good things, but time will tell. If it were up to me, I would overhaul the ENTIRE administration, judging from my previous experiences.
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Postby DTO Luv » Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:04 pm

Will MAT have anything to do with your streetcar project?
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StreetsOfOmaha
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Tue Aug 24, 2004 4:22 pm

Eric and I are in full agreement, here. I think MAT needs to be totally reconstructed, from the bottom up. Sure getting rid of Ruegg was a great thing, but the mindset and attitudes of the authority towards transit are an absolute joke....especially in a city the size of Omaha.
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Postby Coyote » Sat Oct 09, 2004 2:54 pm

Scaling back just when dowtown housing is ready to explode. Brilliant!

MAT ends some circulator, rush-hour bus routes

Metro Area Transit has scaled backed bus routes for its downtown circulator service because of low ridership.

The circulator service, which started in 2002, is intended to ferry downtown workers from parking lots to office buildings.

Low ridership also prompted MAT late last month to eliminate several limited rush-hour routes serving other areas.

Of the circulator routes, MAT has eliminated the red route, which ran primarily on the south side of downtown, and the blue route, which ran along Farnam and Douglas Streets.

MAT is keeping the green circulator route, which runs mostly on the north side of downtown, and the yellow route, which operates during lunch time. Both have had solid ridership, officials said: an average of 275 passenger trips per day last year on the green route and 62 on the yellow route.

That is adequate for the yellow route, considering that it serves a different role than the others by carrying workers to lunch or errands downtown, said Linda Barritt, MAT spokeswoman.

By contrast, the blue route averaged 18 passenger trips per day last year, and the red route averaged 50.

Those levels were similar when the system started. Ridership didn't warrant keeping the two routes, said Curt Simon, MAT's executive director.

The remaining circulator routes will continue using 1940s- and '50s-era buses.

The discontinued rush-hour routes include one from downtown to Offutt Air Force Base in the morning and back downtown in the afternoon. Ridership was sometimes as low as a half-dozen per trip, Simon said.

MAT also has eliminated a rush-hour route between downtown and a transit center near 30th Street and Ames Avenue. The route followed the North Freeway and often had 10 to 12 riders per trip, he said.
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Postby DTO Luv » Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:03 pm

I'm not really surprised about them cutting routes from North O to DT. When I road the bus most of the riders at the north transit center were headed to Crossroads or Westroads or to grocery stores. I think MAT needs to look into redoing their whole system. Omaha is car dependant and the buses should operate diferantly than they used to.
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Postby Zephyr » Sat Oct 09, 2004 9:56 pm

HA! Well, I figured they weren't doing so well from personal observations... and I thought 3 routes was a little much to begin with. I think they should target a specific corridor that people can get used to and maybe call it the Retro Route. Or just abandon it completely and go with a streetcar!
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StreetsOfOmaha
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon Oct 11, 2004 3:53 pm

Yeah, it's no secret. MAT's a joke.
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
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Council Bluffs bus service faces cut backs

Postby eomaha » Tue Nov 16, 2004 6:46 pm

OmahaChannel.com wrote:Bus Cutbacks

Bluffs Bus Woes
Proposals aired out

Budget cuts are forcing changes in the way some people in Council Bluffs get around town. Metro Area Transit is adjusting the city's bus routes to make up for $115,000 in lost funding.

The number of Bluff residents riding the bus has gone up four to seven percent over the past year but the city still has to cut back service.

Kim Moore is one of the regular passengers and says, "I've been riding buses for 29 years. So I haven't driven in 29 years."

Moore is concerned that budget cuts are going to make her wait even longer at her usual bus stops.

"I need that bus service," she says. "Otherwise I'm going to end up having to take a cab which is $7 one way. I can't afford that on my wages."

Others agree and some are even a little angry. They gathered Tuesday to discuss their concerns and to see the second proposal MAT is offering.

MAT Marketing Director Linda Barritt says, "The first plan was pretty radical: cut out Sunday service and a lot of hours. So we went back to the drawing table and this is a compromise."

The compromise will still cut back route hours and possibly cut one to two drivers but it will offer residents a route on Saturday that will help with shopping.

That still leaves Kim Moore waiting longer on the route to and from work but she says, "There's got to be some compromise, some give and take. I'm happy with what I'm seeing now compared to the first proposal."

Many attending Tuesday's meeting believe the second proposal will be more efficient, especially for the Saturday service but they will hold another meeting Wednesday night at the community center at 6:45 to address more concerns.

If the revised proposal passes, the changes wills go into effect on Sunday, January 9.

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Retro bus bursts into flames

Postby eomaha » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:13 pm

Where's that trolley when you need it.

Omaha World Herald wrote:Fire takes old buses off downtown streets

All of Metro Area Transit's retro circulator buses were to be pulled out of service after a Thursday evening fire destroyed one of the buses.

Driver Osie Lenton was eastbound on California Street at the 15th Street intersection when he smelled smoke. In the time it took him to dial the company's dispatch service to report the problem, the rear of the bus was engulfed and the fire was spreading through the inside. There were no passengers, and Lenton got out unharmed.

He said it was the first vehicle fire he had been involved in during his 22 years as a commercial driver.

Victor Slape, a transportation supervisor, said a rear transmission fluid leak may have been the cause.

Curt Simon, executive director of MAT, said the cause will be fully explored before the buses are returned to the street.

"To make certain, we want to diagnose the other buses and make sure this was an isolated incident - which I am certain it is - for safety purposes," he said.

The renovated buses are from the 1950s and 1960s and serve the downtown area.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sat Dec 25, 2004 2:38 pm

:D
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Postby Zephyr » Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:09 pm

Ha! I also think that this was an isolated incident - that is, isolated to crummy old buses!

This should be added to the news page at http://www.omahastreetcar.com.
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MAT will offer $45 monthly bus passes

Postby eomaha » Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:22 pm

I realize MAT is unpopular around here, but I would like to see all forms of mass transit succeed. By the way, unless you like the sight of sprawling park and drive lots, we'll want buses to go the final leg to/from the rail lines as well.

Omaha World Herald wrote:Getting Around: MAT hopes monthly passes increase ridership

Riders on Metro Area Transit buses will have a new option for paying their fares this spring.

MAT plans to offer monthly passes. The city bus service had hoped to offer them last year but was delayed.

MAT intends to begin offering the $45 passes in May.

Regular riders would save money by using the passes.

For example, a person who rides the bus back and forth to work five times a week for four weeks now pays $50, based on the regular $1.25 fare.

MAT officials say the goals are to provide more convenience and increase ridership.

Riders will be able to buy the passes at MAT's Web site, metroareatransit.com, or at MAT's headquarters, 2222 Cuming St.

The passes are paper cards that riders will show drivers.

MAT eventually plans to replace those with plastic cards that have a magnetic strip. Riders would swipe them through a card reader.


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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:34 pm

Good luck, MAT. You can do no right as far as I'm concerned.
"The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."
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Postby AZCorey » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:59 pm

YIKES!! $45 IS EXPENSIVE!!!!!

Our monthly bus passes in Phx are only $34! I'm surprised by that....

Just wondering, why is MAT so unpopular?? And when you mention the rail system, are y'all just dreaming, or has that been discussed??

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Postby OhioStreetKid » Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:44 pm

The railers (Zephyr & Streets) would say that rail is going to happen soon in Omaha. Others (myself) feel that rail won't be here for at least 20 years. As far as MAT goes, I feel they are a waste of tax dollars until they can better allocate their resources.

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Postby DTO Luv » Wed Feb 23, 2005 6:57 pm

It's inconvenient as heck to catch a bus. I've seen driver actually fight with people and throw them off the bus. They don't really go to any place usefull and you have to make so many connections and wait so long it's just a pain in the |expletive|. I think we'll see rail at least DT in less than 10 years.
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Postby Swift » Wed Feb 23, 2005 7:40 pm

I agree, ten years at most for an initial line.

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Postby eomaha » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:06 pm

I believe we will have a downtown 10th Street trolley within 10 years. I'm not so sure about a real LRT facilitating serious mass transit.

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Postby DTO Luv » Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:10 pm

Well we don't really have masses of people either. They might have both. They can have trains running direct main routes and can work at creating better bus circulaition for neighborhoods. Planning places for one stop railing would be an idea. Have a store and whatever esle you go to be at one stop.
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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Thu Feb 24, 2005 2:52 pm

Corey, we don't like MAT because they're an absolute joke as a transit authority. They don't "do" anything besides run smelly, dirty, empty buses. The people that work there work there to earn their measley pay check, not becasue they care about transit, or making Omaha better.

Now, I will also agree that the people of Omaha are mostly to blame. a city's transit is a reflection of its people. If the people demand a higher quality of life, with more sustainability and better access and connections, then that city will have a great system.

However, if the people in the city don't give a sh*t, and would rather hop in their cars and foster sprawl and low densities, well then that city will have horrible, underfunded, unmotivated public transit. Such is Omaha.

OhioStreetKid, actually, I wouldn't say that rail will happen soon in Omaha. I'm realistic. But I will say that it NEEDS to happen soon. But since when did that ever get the city to do anything, not to speak of planning ahead.
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Postby Finn » Wed May 18, 2005 1:17 pm

I agree, Blaze.

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Metro Area Transit - Bike Racks on Buses (photos added)

Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:12 am

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pg=1636&u_sid=2104166

This is EXCELLENT!!!  Ony a couple decades behind the times :), but they're actually doing something progressive.  

I think one evening, Curt Simon was laying in bed thinking about all the bike riders he had seen out and about that day, and how, due to the nature of the bus system he oversees, bike riders are essentially banned from using public transportation.  And he though, "Geez, why didn't I think of this sooner, or take every other bus system in the country's example?  I'm going to put bike racks on the buses."

:)
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Postby icejammer » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:16 am

VERY excellent! I'd be tempted to ride in once in awhile with that and take the bus over the bridge to avoid becoming roadkill.
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Postby MTO » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:32 am

Wonderful, and does anyone know if they have bike racks on streetcars?
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Postby almighty_tuna » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:34 am

I think it depends on the city, Jake. Some you can just walk right on with your bike in tow, others have special places for them and others disallow them.

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Postby Swift » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:58 pm

YES! YES! YES!

I can't believe I'm getting so excited about this!! Last night I was just thinking about what I'm going to do when I move back to Omaha. I don't want to have a car anymore, but I couldn't figure out how I would get from downtown (or where ever I'll live when I move back) to...say out to hang out with Streets (84th st). I was like "if only MAT had bus racks...*sigh*


Also, how it work's here with bikes and lightrail is this: bikes are allowed on the trains (though not during peek morning rush). The busses have bike racks on the front. They aren't allowed on the streetcar only lines, but that is because they are always overflowing with tourists.

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Postby Zephyr » Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:48 am

Great news! I know StarTran in Lincoln has thought about this but has always been afraid of the cost and the liability.

In Denver, you can take your bike on light rail at any time. There's a little spot near each end of the car.

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Another MAT Joke

Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:16 pm

So I'm moving into the Colbert apartments at 39th and Farnam, which I'm really excited about. I'm also excited that it's directly on the number 15 and 55 bus routes running west on Farnam, and two blocks away from bus lines on Dodge Street.

Anyway, I was excited to be able to start taking the bus to school and downtown. I was also excited about not having to worry about drunk driving situations by taking the bus to go out.

But then I looked at their schedules. :cry: :? The last buses out of downtown during the week are around 10:00 PM, 9:00 PM on Saturday, and even earlier on Sunday! What the heck!

When I was studying Fench in Quebec last year, a city about Omaha's size, I was able to catch the last bus out of downtown at 3:00 AM! It was fantastic.

Sometimes I just don't understand how Omaha's public transit can be so ghastly.

Not only should buses run later to provide a service for the citizens, but also as a deterrent to drunk driving.

I mean good god. Think about it. The bars close at 1:00 AM...and by that time there hasn't been any bus service for THREE HOURS. OBVIOUSLY ALL THOSE PEOPLE ARE DRIVING DRUNK, and I'm not saying I haven't done it.

I'm just saying, once again, that MAT is a joke. I just don't understand it. MAT would argue that they don't operate a quality system because they don't have the ridership. But they don't have the ridership because they don't opperate a quality system!!!
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Postby Swift » Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:44 pm

When I move back, let's start doing public demonstrations infront of the MAT headquarters.


What's your rent BTW?

You're living right where I want to live, on that part of Farnam st. right next to Hotel Frank.

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Postby adam186 » Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:18 pm

You should send that as a letter to the Mayor, OPD, and ofcourse MAT. Bring it to light. They might not know that people drink late at night in Omaha. :lol:

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Postby nebport5 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:12 am

that's a good idea. meanwhile where's LB 430?


I'm sure right around bar close there would be a huge ridership if there was service.


And I still don't understand why last call is 5mins before they kick everyone out where people inevitable get behind the wheel.

last call should be 30min before bar close(this should be a law).

and last call should be about 2:30am.

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Postby nebugeater » Tue Mar 07, 2006 6:14 am

adam186 wrote:You should send that as a letter to the Mayor, OPD, and ofcourse MAT. Bring it to light. They might not know that people drink late at night in Omaha. :lol:



Be carefull, their solution may be to close the bars earlier!

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Postby adam186 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:05 am

nebport5 wrote:And I still don't understand why last call is 5mins before they kick everyone out where people inevitable get behind the wheel.

last call should be 30min before bar close(this should be a law).

and last call should be about 2:30am.


I'm sure people will sober up in those extra 25 min of not drinking. :lol:

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Postby Big E » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:15 am

Or they might pass out BEFORE they get in the car, instead of at 65 MPH on 480 or Dodge.

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nebport5
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Postby nebport5 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:16 pm

adam186 wrote:
nebport5 wrote:And I still don't understand why last call is 5mins before they kick everyone out where people inevitable get behind the wheel.

last call should be 30min before bar close(this should be a law).

and last call should be about 2:30am.


I'm sure people will sober up in those extra 25 min of not drinking. :lol:



you're missing the point. And while maybe not completely sober(of course this all depends upon how much one has had two drink), but that's a heck of a lot better than people pounding drinks 5mins before heading for their vehicle.

of the two which group of people would you rather drive along side with?

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Postby adam186 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:58 pm

nebport5 wrote:of the two which group of people would you rather drive along side with?

Niether, they should call a taxi. :) Good points though.

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Postby DTO Luv » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:54 pm

Are you really surprised about how bad the bus is? I've been saying it sucks for a long time on here. At least someone else is having a first hand experience about how awful MAT is. That still kills me that people thought better signage would help MAT out. :lol:


I don't think the buses would deter drunk drivers. It's a public setting and I think it's illegal to be drunk in public, isn't it? Besides I ahve seen bus drivers on more than one occassion push drunk and drugged out riders OFF A MOVING BUS!

Welcome to the nighborhood by the way. I drive right by where you live everyday and can probably see your place from my windows.
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Postby Swift » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:21 pm

I could be wrong, but I think public intoxication is one of those crimes that's an add-on...like they can only issue you a citation for not wearing a seat belt if they've pulled you over for something more serious.

I'm pretty sure there's some law here (SF) that says bus drivers can't kick anyone off of the bus, because one time there was this lady going through withdrawl or something in the back of the 22 line. She was moaning loudly and writhing around like a fish out of water. The bus driver said she'd been there for hours and that there was nothing he could do about it.


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