Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JTA Plan Brings Buses to Workers Suburbs Would See More Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JTA Plan Brings Buses to Workers Suburbs Would See More Service

Article excerpt

If Jennifer Ballosh has more time for homework this fall, she

might want to drop a thank-you note to the Jacksonville City

Council.

The Westside junior college student, who doesn't own a car,

lives in a neighborhood where the Jacksonville Transportation

Authority wants to increase bus service.

"You can sit for like an hour waiting for a bus. It needs to be

more frequent," said the 20-year-old education major, who rides

daily from Wesconnett to the downtown campus of Florida

Community College at Jacksonville.

But the JTA's plans depend on approval by the council, which

will act this month on yearly budget proposals from the JTA and

other branches of local government.

A council subcommittee has recommended approving the budget,

which includes the first increase in bus fares in 16 years. It

would raise the standard fare on most routes from 60 cents to 75

cents.

Over five years, JTA officials want to add more buses to 28

routes and create 17 new routes in areas the agency thinks have

ridership potential. The agency expects to gradually increase

its yearly bus operations budget by a total of $5 million.

The bus system carries about 30,000 passengers a day.

The first route buildups would benefit the Westside most, with

service increasing over the next year on three routes serving

the Wesconnett, Cedar Hills and Paxon areas.

Two other routes, running from downtown to Craig Field by way

of Atlantic Boulevard and from downtown to south Jacksonville

Beach via Beach Boulevard, would also get more frequent service.

The goal is to have service at each bus stop at least once

every 30 minutes during rush hour, and at least once an hour the

rest of the time, said Michael Blaylock, the JTA's director of

mass transit.

That would be good news for Lisa Stancil, who said she spends

two hours traveling from the Westside to appointments in

Arlington, a half-hour drive away. …

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