Westport Transit: What Do You Think?

Cut back on Westport Transit District service. It’s a waste of money!

Add to Westport Transit District service. We need more buses in town!

Those 2 polar opposite opinions — and everything else in between — are what you hear when Westporters talk about our public transit system.

If they talk about it at all.

For those reasons — to get an accurate read on needs and usage, as well as to raise awareness that we actually have a Westport Transit District — local officials have launched a survey.

Working with Westport-based Beresford Research, WTD directors Patsy Cimarosa and Marty Fox designed questions aimed at 4 key constituencies. Westport commuters who use shuttle buses to the train station; those who don’t; non-commuters, and people who work in Westport all have a chance to weigh in on current and future transit options.

Commjuters using the Westport Transit District shuttle service.

Commuters board the Westport Transit District shuttle service at Imperial Avenue.

The survey will include questions about current services (including train shuttles and the lesser-known door-to-door rides for elderly and disabled Westporters); priorities going forward, and public awareness of what’s offered.

The survey — one of the best designed and most comprehensive that I’ve seen like this — is being emailed to residents on the railroad parking and waiting lists, as well as other citizens. A hard copy will be available at the Senior Center.

But you can take the survey now. Just click here.

To encourage participation, the Vine Room and 323 restaurant offer $100 gift certificates in random drawings.

westport-transit-district-logoThat’s nice — but every Westporter should participate without being pushed. Given the current traffic in town, more changes coming near the station in Saugatuck, and the budget decisions we always face, all of our voices should be heard.

9 responses to “Westport Transit: What Do You Think?

  1. It is just plain immoral to keep entitlements for the well-to-do, when services for the needy and disabled are being cut, and the struggling middle class is being hit with ever-higher taxes and fees.

  2. Re: the train stations shuttle, I believe the annual subsidy per rider was quoted as over $4,000 a few years ago.

    I’d also suspect that even on necessary services, like elderly dial-a-ride, costs would be far lower by making grants to private and charitable services vs. using a government agency staffed by unionized municipal employees.

    For one thing, I’d love to see a comparison in cost/passenger mile of Westport’s municipal shuttle vs. the private shuttles used by employers like Bridgewater.

  3. Seems to me I read somewhere (Wired maybe?) that some cities were looking at working with the Ubers of the world to provide service in lieu of lesser traveled bus routes or elderly/disabled dial-a-ride services. Cities would provide subsidies to riders to make price equivalent to bus service but at lower overall cost than actually running busses.

    Don’t know how penetrated Uber is in Westport and may not help with congestion but may be a less expensive alternative to underutilized busses. Who knows, since they are traveling too/from the station anyway, maybe some commuters would become part time Uber drivers and pick up/drop off folks along the way.

  4. Uber works quite well around here, actually. In recent coupe of years, I’ve ordered several times in Norwalk & Westport, and in each case car arrived within 5-10 minutes and was newer, cleaner and had a more courteous driver vs. local taxi services. My kids put me on to it.

  5. Elisabeth Keane

    Uber may have its place but will not be able to accommodate folks with a wheelchair and it is unlikely that all uber drivers will be trained to safely assist disabled people and their equipment —wheelchairs, braces, oxygen, etc.

  6. Bart Shuldman

    Took the survey-did anyone else find it an it biased in its approach?

    Town spends $200,000 for 125 riders? At that is what Westport is spending. Total dollars spent must be higher which makes this an expensive offering per rider. Also, the drivers and others probably get pensions,etc.

    Seems like there could be a more efficient way that does not cost Westporters so much including our state income tax to help pay for this.

    Westport has been asked released to spend more. Also if I remember correctly, the bus service was
    going to spend more on marketing to try and gain more ridership. I guess that failed since the ridership is so low.

    7 buses going all day for 125 riders? Is that right?

    • As I recall, the town subsidy is the smaller part. State paying even more, despite the fiscal crisis.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Peter. State will announce a 1.2-1.4 BILLION deficit 2017-2018. All these types of spending will go away soon. The state will want towns like Wetsport to pay much more of the bill. It’s coming.