survey: most DART riders ride by choice, not necessity; few totally satisfied with system

Good morning, riders.

Some interesting survey results about DART for you today on this fifth annual Dump the Pump Day, courtesy of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. The results are copied in their entirety below. First, some highlights:

— Less than 8 percent of respondents who reported riding public transit said they did so because they didn’t have a car. The majority cited other reasons for using transit, with environmental impact and saving money topping the list.

— 83 percent of respondents said they were unsatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with the level of public transit in Greater Des Moines, while only 17 percent said they were very satisfied.

— Respondents said they wanted more bus routes that run more frequently and later in the evening. Some wanted light rail.

The MPO doesn’t say how many people participated in the survey, and it would have have interesting to ask them how much money they’d be willing to pay in taxes and fares for the improved service they desire.

Now, for the full survey, copied verbatim from the MPO’s website:

In an effort to better understand public views, the MPO has launched a series of online
surveys about various transportation-related topics. The survey results will help the MPO
develop plans and projects for the future. The responses also will be shared with
appropriate roundtables and policymakers. For a list of available surveys, please visit the
MPO website at http://www.dmampo.org/user/survey.html. Below are the results of the
latest survey, which was distributed to highlight the upcoming National Dump the Pump
Day on June 17th.

Question 1. Do you utilize public transportation?
Yes ………………………………………………………………………………………..31.3%
No………………………………………………………………………………………….68.7%

Question 2. If yes, how many days per week do you ride public transportation?
One………………………………………………………………………………………..19.0%
Two three days………………………………………………………………………..19.0%
Four to six days……………………………………………………………………….52.4%
Daily………………………………………………………………………………………9.5%

Question 3. Why do you use public transportation instead of another mode of transportation?
To reduce my environmental impact ………………………………………….29.6%
To save money ………………………………………………………………………..29.6%
Convenience……………………………………………………………………………11.1%
Do not have to park a vehicle ……………………………………………………7.4%
Do not own a vehicle ……………………………………………………………….7.4%
Other (please specify) ………………………………………………………………14.8%
• I do not use it since I can’t get to work with the routes.
• To teach others how to use the bus.
• I hate to drive.
• During the state fair, it is easier and quicker.

Question 4. How satisfied are you with the public transportation service available in the Des Moines metropolitan area?
Not satisfied ……………………………………………………………………………31.9%
Somewhat satisfied ………………………………………………………………….51.1%
Very satisfied ………………………………………………………………………….17.0%

Question 5. Have the recent DART service cuts adversely impacted you? Please explain.

Most of the respondents explained that the recent service cuts have not
directly impacted them. However, several individuals did report that
acquaintances, such as students and low income residents who live in
downtown Des Moines, have been adversely impacted by the cuts. The
cuts mean some buses only run every hour instead of every twenty
minutes, which has made riding the bus “more frustrating.” Furthermore,
it has made traveling around town and arriving at a specific destination on
time problematic.

One respondent who has been impacted by the cuts stated that there are
fewer buses to arrive at specific destinations. This respondent stated, “I
cannot use public transportation unless I map out my entire day around the
bus schedules. It is a lot less convenient.”

Question 6. What changes would you recommend to increase public transportation ridership?

Respondents offered several suggestions to increase public transportation
ridership in the Des Moines metropolitan area. The most common replies
related to the frequency of service. Individuals desire buses that run more
often, that run later into the evening, and that run to and from the suburbs.
Riders want routes that do not require them to go into downtown Des
Moines. The routes also should be extended to take advantage of growing
areas, such as Ankeny, Waukee, and Grimes, according to one respondent.

Additional suggestions for increasing public transportation ridership
include reducing fares, expanding marketing and education efforts to make
people aware of the savings and ease of use associated with public
transportation, offering incentives for first time riders, and posting
schedules on buses. Some riders feel safety needs to be increased on
buses, while others point to improvements at bus stops (e.g., shelters,
benches, etc.).

Several respondents recommended more park and ride
locations; one individual suggested turning vacant lots along Ingersoll
Avenue into park and ride locations to serve downtown Des Moines.

Others proposed the addition of a light rail from Des Moines to the
western suburbs, the installation of a rail system from Waukee to Altoona,
and a train, light rail, or bus rapid transit system running along the
Interstate 35 corridor between Ames and Des Moines.

Question 7. Are you familiar with the Rest Your Car program?
Yes ………………………………………………………………………………………..53.2%
No………………………………………………………………………………………….46.8%

Question 8. If you participate in the Rest Your Car program, what mode do you generally use?
Mass transit …………………………………………………………………………….27.3%
Bicycle …………………………………………………………………………………..15.9%
Carpool…………………………………………………………………………………..13.6%
Vanpool………………………………………………………………………………….4.5%
I do not participate in the program……………………………………………..38.6%

Question 9. What could the MPO do to help enhance the public transportation system in the Des Moines metropolitan area?

Respondents would like the MPO to help create a passenger rail system or tram;
one individual thought this addition would be a “prestige factor.” Such solutions
would be cheaper in the long run, would diminish pollution, and would hold
more riders, according to the individual.

Riders are happy with the bike racks on buses but would also like bike lockers to
be installed near bus stops. They want routes that do not necessitate traveling
through downtown, routes that are convenient for those working after 5:30 p.m.,
and routes that improve connectivity in and around the metro. One individual
proposed special routes for specific events, such as the downtown farmers
market, while another individual suggested a focus on transit-dependent
populations.

Several individuals want the MPO to encourage activity-oriented development
and to support land use initiatives that may increase housing density. These
individuals also want more promotion of the Rest Your Car program, noting they
often forget about the program.

Advertisements

One thought on “survey: most DART riders ride by choice, not necessity; few totally satisfied with system

Comments are closed.