Friday, April 15, 2011

Transit Values Exercise gets at vision, values

Just a week ago Thursday, CEO Joyce Eleanor announced Community Transit will have to cut service 20 percent in 2012. The word got out fast. At a transit values exercise on Saturday, nearly every person in the room raised their hand when Joyce asked if they had heard the news. (The others quickly turned to the person next to them and said, “They’re doing what?”)
Ninety people participated in the four transit values exercises held this month. Gearing up for these public sessions, the exercise had been conducted on about 150 employees as it was being developed in February and March.
The exercise is not about deciding which routes to cut or save, it is about the trade-offs that go into cutting service. For instance, if you cut bus frequencies you’re also going to cut ridership. If you want high efficiency you’re going to have to cut geographic coverage.
There is also the human cost, which is why the service choices were framed in profiles of fictitious bus riders. This is no bureaucratic decision.
We called this a visioning process because it helps to shape your own values and visions for a balanced transit system.
Soon, on June 2, we’ll move into the alternatives process where everyone will see the alternative service proposals and comment on them. Before we get there, we’d still like to invite people to experience the transit values exercise in a less staff-intensive manner.
A new web page walks you through the exercise, with photos and the Rider Cards themselves. After each session we stopped participants and asked them on camera what they thought. We’ll have those videos posted soon.
What do you think?

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