TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Economic development officials have launched a new study of public transit in Terre Haute and Vigo County, according to an announcement Friday.
Organizers said the study is meant to look for ways to improve transit for people who currently ride buses and for ways to attract more riders. They said those improvements could include anything from new amenities on buses to new rapid-transit routes with fewer stops.
"We are looking at this study for what we are currently offering the public and how we can improve that, and we are looking down the road," said Pat Macke, of the West Central Indiana Economic Development District. "We want to know where we're going to be ten years from now. We want to know where we're going to be 20 years from now."
As part of the study, planners are launching an online survey to be posted between December 3 and December 14. That survey will be posted here . Organizers said they want as many community members as possible to fill out the survey, including those who never ride buses. Those who currently drive or ride buses can also fill out surveys next time they ride a bus.
An outside consulting firm will include those survey results in the study and will issue reports on transit in the area during a series of public meetings in early 2013, Macke said. Under the firm's contract, the study will cost $49,000, though organizers said 80 percent of that cost will be paid through federal funds.
In recent years, the number of people riding city buses in Terre Haute has risen by 33 percent, and the number of people riding rural buses has risen 48 percent, according to figures provided by the West Central Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
"A lot of folks who are out of work can't afford gas," Macke said. "So if we've got a bus line or a transit service that goes out in the community and comes anywhere close to them, they'll take advantage of that, which is a smart move."
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