March 17, 2010
By Darin Atteberry
Here's something you might not know: CSU students account for nearly 35 percent of our Transfort ridership. You hopped on a bus more than 662,400 times in 2009.
For more than 31 years, we have established an agreement with the Associated Students of CSU to provide free bus service for every student in exchange for an annual fee. The partnership is a win-win for students and the city.
You can take the bus to save gas money, avoid parking hassles and prevent parking tickets. The city can count on a steady source of revenue and riders, which helps with both short and long-term planning.
We're committed to making Transfort usable for students and the community at large. Every day, we're collecting information about how many people are using each route and looking for ways to improve our service and our efficiency. And when you offer up suggestions for improvement, we listen.
For example, students at both CSU and Front Range Community College told us a bus route connecting the two campuses would be highly valuable. Many students take classes at both schools and were looking for an easier way to travel between the campuses. In response, last March Transfort introduced Route 19, a direct-service link between FRCC and CSU, which travels on Shields Street.
At the request of the 2009 ASCSU leadership, bus service expanded to include additional evening service for two routes serving campus. Service on both Routes 3 and 6 were extended from about 7 p.m. to about 10 p.m.
And when the fall semester kicked off at CSU, we offered a simpler way to ride Transfort. Your CSU-issued RamCard now functions as a bus pass. No longer do you have to obtain and keep track of a separate bus pass. Your RamCard does it all. This change was also brought forth at the request of ASCSU leadership.
In addition to better and more convenient service, we also made changes to improve safety. Last year we added a mobile video security system (MVSS) on all passenger buses. The cameras allow Transfort operations and law enforcement staff to view live video from nearby vehicles, improving the safety and security of operators and passengers.
We can also use the GPS (global positioning system) data reported through MVSS to identify the exact location of buses along their routes. This technology is useful for daily operations and allows dispatchers to monitor and actively manage buses. In the event of an emergency, the ability to provide live information regarding the vehicle location could prove invaluable.
In the future, we'll be able to use this same technology to provide passengers with information about routes, schedules and the location of buses in real time via the Internet and mobile phones. This will make traveling on Transfort even more convenient for you.
Transfort plays an important role in connecting CSU and the community. We're constantly looking for ways to improve our service, safety, and efficiency.
Darin Atteberry is the Fort Collins City Manager. I'd like to hear your ideas. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
Originally printed in the Rocky Mountain Collegian on March 8, 2010.