Boiseans talk about public transportation needs

Posted: 2/6/2020

Categories: City o of Boise Public Hearing Transit priorities

Please fill out the public survey

If you were unable to attend the February 11 public hearing before the Boise City Council, you can still provide comment on what priorities you would like to see for improving the ValleyRide bus system.
The city of Boise has posted an online survey to collect comment. Here is the link:

The deadline for completing the survey is 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 1, 2020.

About 60 people attended the Council meeting, with 24 people testifying at the public hearing.  

City Council members will review comments made during the public hearing, along with the results on an on-line survey (https://tinyurl.com/rhyh538), when discussing funding for public transportation for fiscal year 2021. The deadline for taking the survey is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25.

The City has a memo of understanding with Valley Regional Transit (VRT) that calls for spending 5 percent of its annual property tax revenue on public transportation. Under the agreement, VRT will provide an update on the performance of its services and the Council will schedule a public hearing on transit priorities.

Stephen Hunt, VRT Principal Planner, told Council members that while overall ridership is down, recent service improvements implemented last October have resulted in increased ridership on the affected routes. He also reported that on-time performance was better in 2019 than in 2018, and that efforts will continue to improve those numbers.

Valley Regional Transit currently operates 18 bus routes in Boise and Garden City. In addition, it operates three bus routes in Nampa/Caldwell and five intercountry routes between Ada County and Canyon County. VRT operates seven routes on Saturday and no service on Sunday.

Comments made during the public hearing include:

  • “It is important for all routes to run later. Not all of us get off work at 5 p.m.”
  • “The current system is broke. Buses run about 20 percent late. The system continues to lose riders.”
  • “More frequency would be helpful. Weekend service is not as important.”
  • “Sunday service has to happen.” Several others who testified also asked for Sunday service.
  • “It’s like impossible to live here without a car” and “It is pretty much required to have a car.”
  • “We need more buses at night.”
  • “Extend service hours…increase geographic reach.”
  • “Need more bus options, run later, full Saturday and Sunday service. A sliding (fare) scale for bus passes. More routes in Meridian, Garden City, Nampa.”
  • “I want free transportation. I want you to consider this.”

The online survey provides participants with a set amount of money and ask them to invest those dollars into their funding priorities. The options include upgrading all bus routes to run every 30 minutes on weekdays, extending all bus routes to run to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, run all bus routes on Saturday, start Sunday bus service on priority routes, and improving rider experience by improving on-time performance and adding bus stop amenities at high ridership stops.

Councilwoman Elaine Clegg thanked the crowd for attending and urged them to fill out the survey. She said testimony from the public hearing and the survey results will provide direction to the Council this spring as it delvelops a city budget for the next fiscal year.