Community Organizing Issue: Transit
How It All Started
Back in February of 2006, an MOU was developed between the City and the Pikes Peak Regional Transit Authority (PPRTA). In the MOU, the City was supposed to allocate $5 million around the “maintenance of effort” for bus and transit provided by Mountain Metropolitan Transit. The City is currently $2 million short in funding the MOU, resulting in service getting cut, routes being shortened and metro mobility riders being denied rides.
The shortage of promised funds to transportation impacts several aspects of our community:
- Employment: people who do not drive cannot get to work due to the infrequency of buses and the fact that the buses do not go where there are new jobs (Northern Powers corridor).
- People with Disabilities cannot be participating members in our community because getting to the store, doctor’s offices, out for coffee, etc. takes an extraordinary amount of time.
- There is no bus service to the new hospitals up north. People cannot get to the doctor for routine appointments, meaning they may end up in the ER for something more catastrophic, pulling more resources from the general public.
- The Mayor laid out a plan for 6,000 new jobs. But with such a tenuous transit system, Colorado Springs will struggle to recruit new employers.
- Retirees coming to Colorado Springs to settle and who could contribute to our economy are isolated and cut off due to a lack of transit.
The IC’s Current Work for Transit
The Independence Center is currently working within the community to enhance the transit system to include:
- Coverage of areas that were previously cut (including the Powers corridor).
- Better coverage on Saturday and Sunday.
- Increasing the frequency of service during peak hours.
- Increasing frequency in general.
In 2011, The Future of Regional Transit (FoRT) report was released. Key findings throughout the study include:
- Those who would choose public transit over driving would like a greater range of alternatives.
- A public transit system cannot be sustained by the riders’ fares alone.
- Public funding for a transit system should be stable and dedicated for that purpose.
- The governance of public transportation should be independent and focused on transit.
The FoRT report had the following suggestions in terms of our local transit:
- Shift the responsibility of regional transit from the Colorado Springs City Council to a new governing board within the regionally-oriented Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA).
- The PPRTA should propose additional funding be obtained via options that it has available but have not yet been utilized.
- Return to the level of service that was delivered in 2008.
The Independence Center has stories that cover the wide range of individuals impacted by the lack of adequate transit in Colorado Springs, including executives who cannot drive, people with disabilities who work, young people trying to enter the workforce, etc. It is important for this information to be made available to the community. Most do not realize how many individuals the lack of transit impacts. The inadequate transit systems in Colorado Springs is affecting many in their activities of daily life. It is also hindering growth, employment and driving up costs.
For more information about Community Organizing or to get involved, click the button below or contact the Advocacy Manager at 719-471-8181.
If you qualify for a disabled bus pass, you can click here to find out more about getting one at The IC.
To schedule disability related training, click on the button below, tell us which training courses you’re interested in, and complete the form. Once we receive your submission, one of our Community Organizing team will contact you to schedule your free group training.