I was curious if the city is aware of the quantity of patients leaving the hospitals in town at all hours, who were utterly reliant on City Cab’s operation. Can it be done, with relative quickness, to implement a night route to the bus lines to accommodate this need?
What can the city do about our community’s transportation issue?
Longer busing, maybe 24-7 busing to the Fort and shopping areas?
Can we attract Uber or Lyft in Battle Creek?
(Multiple, similar questions are grouped together.)
-We are learning more now about the City Cab passenger needs. Battle Creek Transit has tried to respond in a very short time frame to the community’s transportation needs, with City Cab closing. Unfortunately, business costs forced City Cab to make that decision.
Transit does have a new, premium service (BCGo) to try to help. This service runs from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Fare is $5 to $15 per passenger, per one-way ride.
Equal access is important to us, and to the Federal Transit Administration. FTA regulations require that services remain equal to all populations throughout all hours of service. This means that providing overnight, or 24-hour service would require us to serve all areas equally, not only specific routes or districts. Without significant additional funding, Battle Creek Transit is unable to meet those requirements. In addition, Transit is required to provide ADA complimentary paratransit during all hours of fixed-route bus service (our Tele-Transit service). This doubles the hourly operating expense from $125 per vehicle hour to nearly $250. This means Transit would need more than 250 passengers per hour to sustain the services we offer, something unlikely during overnight hours. There is not much revenue from the fare boxes, and to expand, we would need more support. Unfortunately, we are getting less, not more.
There are other transportation service providers in the market, like Aequitas Mobility Services, all of whom are working to meet the community’s transportation needs. Anyone with concerns, or if you’re not sure how to meet your transportation needs, call Battle Creek Transit at 269-966-3474. We have received these types of calls from neighbors, and have been able to solve many of them by sharing the various transportation opportunities available in the community. We also are looking at a county-wide alternative, with our city transit team and other transportation stakeholders. The city probably will not be the only provider to meet mobility needs.
-Private ride-share services – like Uber and Lyft – also can be part of the solution. Lyft is in Battle Creek, and something neighbors can do to help increase the availability of these services is to use them. However, we also have learned that there are insurance and vehicle requirements that can limit these services. We are hopeful these companies will take advantage of the opportunity to have a stronger presence here, and plan to do everything we can to reach out and invite them to do so.