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Get on the bus, Gus
January 6, 2011 - Steve Murch
On Monday, Alpena Municipal Council approved a change of hours on Sunday for Dial-A-Ride. Thunder Bay Transportation, which operates Dial-A-Ride, had requested the change because of how busy it has been.
Users had been waiting up to an hour for a bus to show up because of the higher demand. That's both good and bad news. Good in that it shows there is a need for the service on Sundays; bad if you have to wait up to an hour to get picked up. The change in hours is needed and hopefully will alleviate some of the problems. I've had conversations with numerous people through the years about whether or not Alpena needs a regular bus line, one with a dedicated route or routes, and schedule. This isn't a big city, but is big enough that Dial-A-Ride is used quite a bit, as highlighted by the need to change the schedule on Sundays. Clearly there is a need by people to use the service for whatever reason. The question is: would more people use it run a few errands if access was fairly easy and they knew the route the bus took? We like to talk about how much we love the environment, especially up north where the natural resources are more abundant. But do we love it enough to change our way of getting from Point A to Point B. People love their vehicles and it's difficult to break habits, plus it's easier to jump into your car, drive to where you are going, do what needs to be done then drive home than it is to schlep on down to the bus stop and wait for the bus – and wait for the stops along the way.
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