Public Meetings for Proposed Flex Route
Would Provide Services to Lake Jackson Area
April 16, 2013
If you live near Lake Jackson, then StarMetro is looking for your ideas and feedback on a proposed pilot project for a flexible bus route in your area. As the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) for Leon County, StarMetro will host two public meetings on Wednesdays, April 17 and 24, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Jackson Community Center, located at 3840 North Monroe Street.
“The goal of these public meetings is two-fold,” said Ivan Maldonado, interim executive director for StarMetro. “One, we want to introduce this innovative idea of flexible route to our community; and, two, we want to gain feedback from area residents on how a flexible route would best serve their transportation needs.”
A flexible or ‘flex’ route combines the best of both a traditional fixed route and a demand response service, such as Dial-A-Ride. Flex routes follow a defined route that pick-up and drop-off customers at designated stops, as well as flex or deviate from this defined route in order to pick-up and drop-off customers within an outlined service area who call ahead and reserve a trip. Typically, flex routes exist in rural areas and connect to fixed routes that then travel into urban areas.
The proposed flex route for the Lake Jackson area would travel along North Monroe Street, Capital Circle NW and Fred George Road, covering an 11 square mile area. One of the stops would be the Lake Jackson Town Center where customers could transfer to two of StarMetro’s fixed routes, the Big Bend and the Forest.
“The Tallahassee City Commission had been searching for ways to help residents outside the city limits access StarMetro services,” said City Commissioner Nancy Miller, lead commissioner for the City's Long Range Planning Target Issue Committee. “When StarMetro staff asked for approval to apply for a federal grant that would help fund this new way of meeting customer needs, we quickly approved their request and lauded their resourcefulness.”
“Reliable transportation is critical to helping our rural residents like those in the Lake Jackson area remain healthy, active and productive,” said County Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley, Chair for the Leon County Transportation Disadvantage Coordinating Board. “By offering transportation options to the Lake Jackson area, we can enhance the quality of life for that community and its residents.”
The Lake Jackson area was chosen as the first rural location to begin a flex route due its dense population. With the proposed flex route, StarMetro will serve approximately 7,000 residents. The Lake Jackson flex route is a pilot project that may lead to additional flex routes into areas surrounding the City of Tallahassee, pending available funding sources.
Recently, the Federal Transit Administration awarded StarMetro with a Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant that would provide the funds to begin a flex route. The grant totaled $169,910. The 50 percent local match required by the grant would come from the CTC budget.
As the CTC, StarMetro provides countywide transportation services to senior, disabled and low-income citizens who lack adequate transportation to meet their basic needs. In fiscal year 2012, StarMetro provided nearly 77,000 trips to transportation disadvantaged citizens in the county. A recent survey shows that customers rely on StarMetro’s CTC service to get to work, class and personal or medical appointments, allowing them to remain active and engaged with their community.
For more information about StarMetro services, please call StarMetro’s main office at 891-5200 or visit Talgov.com/starmetro. Other ways to view information include liking StarMetro’s official Facebook page at Facebook.com/starmetrotransit or following the organization on Twitter at Twitter.com/ridestarmetro.
Andrea Rosser, StarMetro Mobility Coordinator, 891-5196; Heather Teter, City of Tallahassee Department of Communications, 891-8533; or Jon D. Brown, Leon County Community and Media Relations, 606-5300