SunLine Transit Agency has seen a decline in ridership in recent years. Now the public transit operator is coming up with new ways to get people back on the bus. CEO Lauren Skiver says there are several reasons for that.
"It's a combination of things. Low fuel prices, more licensed drivers and certainly ride share services have played a role in transit decline," Skriver said.
Ridership has declined 10 percent in the past four years. Since funding depends on ridership, SunLine has had to come up with ways to make things work with what they have.
"By being fiscally focused, by being performance driven, we've allowed ourselves the opportunity to manipulate the system with a scalpel, when many agencies just go in with a hatchet," said Skriver.
SunLine is re-thinking how it does transit. One of the ways it may change is by offering ride-sharing services like Uber.
"It will look like, hopefully, a service that gets people from the first mile-last mile to the route, so they don't have to ride a bike, walk or take potentially two buses to get there. Which will make their trip quicker and make their trip more comfortable," said Skriver.
But with services like Uber and Lyft in high demand, SunLine has a big mountain to climb. But Skiver says it's doable.
"We need to be responsive to where people need to go, and they time they have to take those trips, and then look at other ways to provide transit that aren't necessarily a forty foot bus," said Skriver.
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