JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's a big day for the River City as the Jacksonville Transportation Authority just launched its new bus route system. It includes new signs and designs, but most importantly new bus routes even extended hours.
JTA said this is going to be extremely appealing to current and potential riders, while meeting the demands of 21st century commuters.
"This is the first time in 30 years for such extensive change because where people live, work and play has changed, we have retail centers for job growth and places open 24/7," said Leigh Ann Rassler.
Rassler works with JTA and said times have changed and so have the ways people commute. That's why JTA now has a new system, new routes and a new way of doing business. Rassler said customers will have more flexibility and time to spend with their loved ones.
"A lot of these routes are going to be more direct, they're going to get you where you're going a lot quicker. Not only will you have less time to wait on the bus, but you'll have less time on the bus," said Rassler.
The new system will improve the customer experience by
- offering more routes with less wait times: with the old system only 11 routes ran after 11 p.m. but with the new system that number is doubled to 22, and there are now 17 routes that run past midnight, where before there were only three.
- providing reliable, on time service,
- increasing bus service frequency,
- renaming routes,
- creating more direct routes,
- implementing a new signage program and
- offering real time passenger information.
Because they expect a few bumps in the road with the brand new system, Rassler said JTA is offering complimentary bus rides for the first five days of December.
"Our complimentary fare next week, come on out and ride the bus and community shuttle try out JTA," said Rassler.
Also, because there are extended evening hours, security has been increased. There will be two off-duty officers working at the Rosa Parks station from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
While some are satisfied with the new routes, others are trying to adapt.
"Well, it's made me late for work, for one thing, and it's utterly confusing, actually," rider Albert Owen said.
"I just have to get used to the two numbers, two 17s and one going to Baymeadows and one going to Southpoint," rider Veronica Murray said.
If you encounter any problems, JTA wants to hear from you. It wants feedback so it knows what's working and what's not.
There are tables set up throughout the week at various bus stops with employees stationed there to answer questions. They also encourage you to call or go online to voice any feedback you might have.
To find it if your current route is affected or to get more information on the new system and routes, visit jtafla.com, stop by the Rosa Parks transit station, or you can call 904-630-3100.