December 18, 2004
When it comes to public transportation, residents told researchers that Scottsdale is at the back of the bus.
City bus transportation received low marks in a survey conducted Oct. 25 to Nov. 22 by the National Research Center of Boulder, Colo. The group received 938 responses from 3,000 surveys sent to Scottsdale residents.
Asking residents about ease of car, bus and bicycle travel and walking in Scottsdale, 5 percent rated bus travel excellent, the lowest rating of all categories. Fortythree percent said bus travel was good and 29 percent fair. Forty percent said it was poor, the highest percentage of the five categories.
The survey also shows 11 percent of respondents have ridden a bus within Scottsdale. The rating of bus travel was considered poor, although the rating went up a bit from 2003. Quality of bus/ transit services wasn’t much better.
"The ratings are better where more people are using buses," said city spokesman Pat Dodds. "Sure we have work to do. Transportation will always be a challenge, especially to a city this size. Our council picked up that this was an overall survey, whether people used our services or not. That means the percentages aren’t a survey of just customers."
Mary O’Connor, the city’s transportation general manager, said she and other officials realize there’s work to be done. She said some service reductions over the last couple of years will probably be reversed, and pointed to a half-cent regional sales tax to bring more funding in.
"We’re not surprised with the results," O’Connor said. "The survey shows we have not had a significant amount of service in parts of the community."
Waiting for a southbound bus Friday afternoon on Miller Road off Camelback Road, Scottsdale resident Joseph Leno called the service fair, while Michael Welsch said it was good.
"I own a car, but I take the bus to school," said Leno, 50, who rides five times a week. "It’s easier for me to get to Scottsdale Community College by taking the bus. It averages about $25 a month. Gas might be double that."
Welsch, 29, said he likes the service, but thinks one change is necessary.
"I’d like to see better weekend service," he said. Welsch rides two to three times a week.
Nationally, Scottsdale ranked 84th of 97 municipalities surveyed. That’s considered below the norm.
Regionally, it was 28th of 30, also below the norm.
Other municipalities in the survey included Little Rock, Ark.; San Francisco; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Atlanta; Wichita, Kan.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Cincinnati; Philadelphia; Memphis, Tenn.; Dallas; Seattle; and North Las Vegas.