Buses in jeopardy and a transit in transition

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The transit system in Sioux Falls is in jeopardy.

“Quite honestly we’re on the verge of a financial cliff for public transportation. As expenses continue to increase, federal funds continue to decrease, and ridership is declining. Simply put the current course for public transportation in our city is unsustainable,” Mayor Paul Tenhaken said.

While that may be the case, the city hopes to change these circumstances. 

Many people in Sioux Falls agree something needs to change with the bus system.

“There can be some areas that can improve like some that live on the outskirts of town, you know, want to be closer, maybe putting a few bus stops out where they’re out,” bus rider, Shelby Norton, said.

“Minneapolis the busses come every hour or something every half hour or something, but over here it’s so long,” bus rider, Robert Twohearts, said.

The City of Sioux Falls is hoping to fix that.

“Our idea is to really section off the city into four quadrants and create kind of like an on demand experience for those quadrants. A Lyft like or Uber like experience,” Jason Reisdorfer, Director of Innovation & Technology for the City of Sioux Falls, said.

Instead of congregating in one place busses would go to different neighborhoods.

“And those shuttles would get you from your door or very close to your door within a block or so to what we’re proposing as a rapid transit line or a bus rapid transit line, and that rapid transit line would operate in a circular pattern around the City of Sioux Falls,” Jason Reisdorfer said.

The bus riders who we talked with seem to like the idea.

“That’ll help, anything will help,” Robert Twohearts said.

“Anything, you know ,” bus rider, William Young, said.

“It’s not a guarantee, this is not set in stone that this is the idea, but this is something that we’re taking out to the public, and we’re saying what do you like about it what do you hate about it,” Jason Reisdorfer said.

Not only is the city looking at revamping the bus system, but they also may be implementing another tool.

“Over and over and over again we heard from riders that they wanted an app. They wanted to be able to figure out the bus routes quicker, and so the idea is to take a software and combine it with this on demand and rapid transit for providing people a way to get where they’re going,” Jason Reisdorfer said.

Just like the new transit system riders also agree the app would be helpful too.

“That would be something I can see everybody using, even myself. Like maybe have a Sioux Area Metro app,” Shelby Norton said.

Being in the early stages, the city is still open to feedback.

“We’re looking for some of the negative feedbacks like why this wouldn’t work so we can improve the process, improve the plan,” Jason Reisdorfer said.

To give a suggestion for the new transit system, click here.

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