The Daily Item
As the SEDA-COG Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) prepares to update its public transportation plan, it is surveying area residents about needs and concerns regarding transit service in the MPO’s eight counties ─ Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union. The survey is online at www.svy.mk/1eV3ifs, and can also be accessed at the Transportation Planning page on the SEDA-COG web site ─ www.seda-cog.org ─ under transit planning. It is being conducted in conjunction with the MPO in Lycoming County.
“In general,” said Jim Saylor, SEDA-COG Transportation Director, “the survey will help us determine unmet needs in the region, information that is critical as we and transit service providers develop strategies to improve public transportation. We need to hear from as many people as possible, whether they use public transportation or not.”
Transit service in the 8-county region is generally limited to “fixed route,” such as buses running on established routes and schedules, and “demand responsive,” which primarily serves senior citizens and disabled persons. SEDA-COG’s survey seeks to determine how people travel, i.e., alone or with others, the type of transit service available to them, and whether or not they use it. Respondents are also asked their reasons for using or not using transit services.
In measuring the importance of public transportation, respondents are asked their primary uses for transit service, e.g., shopping, getting to work or medical appointments, long distance trips, or accessing social services. They are also asked why they may have never used or no longer use public transportation.
There are questions regarding conditions which may persuade individuals to use public transportation. Among these are air quality issues, highway congestion, gas prices, and parking costs. In general the survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
Ultimately the survey’s findings will provide guidance to the MPO’s Public Transit Committee as it updates the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan. The deadline for individuals to complete the survey is Oct. 16.
Saylor said, “The transportation plan is a guide for service providers as they develop locally driven solutions to fill the unmet needs in the region. We need to remain aware and in touch with those needs so we can continue to give our local providers the support they need in today’s tough funding environment.”