Feedback to be requested at meeting about Waco Rapid Corridor Study

Posted at 3:09 PM, Jun 02, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:50-04

The Waco Transit and Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization will host a meeting later this month to ask for input from citizens regarding the Waco Rapid Corridor study.

Currently, the 10 fixed routes, which operate under a flag stop system return to the downtown transit terminal every hour.

Kimberlie McKelvey who has been riding Waco Transit buses for 18 months used to take it to go from Marlin to her work in Hewitt.

"I started riding the bus out of necessity because I didn't have access to a vehicle,” McKelvey said.

She recalls having to transfer buses twice in order to get to her final destination.

"I would get on the bus at 6:30 in the morning, get to work at about 8:30 a.m.” McKelvey said.

According to Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Chris Evilia, it takes 90 minutes to up to two hours to travel from the Texas State Technical College to Baylor Scott & White at Hillcrest.

"That is really hard to plan around especially if you are trying to get to a job, two hour commute is very difficult,” Evilia said.

The Austin consulting firm AECOM is currently studying the possibility of adding a bus rapid transit system in the Waco area. Under that proposal, the buses would have limited stops and run along a specific corridor. There would also be satellite routes that would continue to use a flag stop system and go into neighborhoods and return to the main line.

He added improving travel times is a priority in this area where there are many residents living under the census poverty level.

"When you look at where the greatest concentration of poverty and where the jobs, they are in two different locations,” Evilia said. “They're far enough apart that you are not going to walk there, riding a bike is pretty difficult. If you don't own a car that means you have to ride the bus, if it takes you two hours to get there is hard.”

A consulting firm is studying the possible location for the corridor and the potential designated stops. It is also looking into options about having a trolley or light rail in the Waco area. The group is expected to present its initial findings during a public meeting on June 15.

The $450,000 study was paid by federal dollars and Waco Transit, according to Evilia.

During the meeting, residents will be able to share their feedback about the different proposals.

Mckelvey who now lives in Hewitt and rides the bus for convenience said she would like to hear about the findings.

"I think that for a town the size of Waco, this is a good bus system and they could do some improvements as they're talking about doing and making it convenient for patrons,” McKelvey said.

In addition she would like to see the hours of the buses extended. Currently, the buses run until 7:15 p.m. on weekdays and 8:15 p.m. on weekends.

The meeting will take place on June 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Waco Multipurpose Center located at 1020 Elm Street.

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