It’s beyond me why our local transit agencies don’t make their services and policies more user-friendly and visible to the general public. Around here, figuring out how to piece together a long, multi-leg, multi-modal commute is not a simple thing. In my case, it took a bit of desperation and quite a lot of research to sort out my 60-mile round-trip commute.
The biggest challenge is ferreting out the needed information from the various agencies’ poorly-designed, data-dense, websites. For example, a number of our local transit agencies honor commuter passes from the other local services, but hardly anyone, including their drivers, seems to know this (I carry a print out from their websites in case I need to provide a little “education”). You’d think this would be published in an obvious place online. At least once a week, someone asks me how I got on this bus, or that train, with a pass from some other transit service. When I tell people about this policy they often act as if I’m nuts, even though I’m sitting on the train right next to them, flashing a bus pass from the other transit service.
Another service I often get quizzed about is our City bike lockers. At various “park-n-ride” lots and transit hubs throughout the city, free bike lockers are offered to city residents. All that’s required is proof of residency (a utility bill will do) and a note explaining how you’ll use the locker. If you meet these minimum requirements, the locker is yours for a year, with guaranteed renewal for a second year if you so choose. People frequently approach me as I’m parking my bike to inquire about the locker, and they’re always astonished the lockers are available for free simply for the asking. Why isn’t this service more widely promoted?
I’d love to see more public outreach in this area. I’m convinced more people would consider using transit if it was a little less confusing. People are already looking for excuses to stay in their cars; minimizing the barriers by making the transit option as simple, cost-effective, and user-friendly as possible seems like a no-brainer.