Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who are "They"? Vol 3, No. 24

“They” say change is good, but who are “they”? You often hear that “they” want rain or snow on a certain day, but who are “they”? “They” must be the people who never venture outside their home, therefore, there is no need for them to deal with change or inclement weather :-)

“They” would be correct if they said LANta is changing some of their bus routes and bringing them into the 21st century. Effective August 29, 2011, the bus operators, as well as some passengers, may have some misgivings about the change. Even though three might be some hick-ups in the beginning, LANta is trying hard to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone concerned.

LANta is consolidating its 40 route system into 32 routes, eliminating a few route segments where ridership has been very low. For the most part, LANta’s route structure will remain intact with the most significant change coming in how route segments are connected with one another. This change that “they” are working on will help make public transportation in the Lehigh Valley more user-friendly and convenient for everyone.

Most routes will continue operating from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with select routes operating into the evening hours. Routes will continue to operate every hour with some operating every half hour in the peak times. There has been significant improvement to service on Sundays and in the evening hours. More routes will operate into the evening hours and on Sundays.

While many riders will see little or no change to their existing trips, others may see more significant changes so make sure to check the new timetables. These new timetables should be out to the public by August 15, 2011. At that time they will be on the buses, at major transfer points, or you can call 610-776-7433 to have one mailed to you. It is anticipated that the new schedules will be online at by the end of the first week of August.

All LANta Departments are preparing for this change. It is important for LANta’s Maintenance Department to service each bus when it arrives back at the garage readying the bus to serve the public the next day. The Maintenance Department has adjusted its work schedule to respond to the fact that more buses will be returning to the garage in the late night hours.

LANta’s Customer Service Department is working hard to prepare for the major changes coming. LANta’s Customer Service Representatives help answer all sorts of questions each day from LANta riders. Given the changes, Customer Service expects a high volume of calls and also expects that each call will last longer than normal due to the need to explain the new route structure. LANta’s customer service representatives appreciate everyone’s patience during this transition period.

The first week of the bus changes, LANta “Ambassadors” will be at many of the highly frequented bus stops to help passengers with the new route structure and make sure everyone knows how they can make their trip.

LANta’s goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone concerned.

Check out the new route guides and timetables on the 'net ... click here

Click here
for a handy conversion guide from the old route naming system to the new.

Monday, July 18, 2011

High Ridership, July 18, 2011 Vol. 3, No, 23

On July 12, 2011 the Authority’s Annual Board Meeting was held at AstsQuest in South Bethlehem. This event marked LANta’s 39th year of service to the Lehigh Valley.

Throughout the past fiscal year LANta marked some significant events and has set a solid foundation for the future. The first, carrying nearly 6 million passengers on its three operating divisions; LANtaBus, LANtaVan and Carbon County Transit Author­ity. LANtaBus’s total, though less than our past year; is among the top five ridership years in the Authority’s history. The commitment to improved service to our custom­ers shows in the strong ridership figures.

The various committees reported on some key events during the year.

· The installation of an Automated Transit Management System was completed in March 2011. This system represents the future in terms of the Authority’s fixed route system.

· The first phase of the Moving LANTA Forward program 1s started. The new rout­ing structure has an implementation date of August 29, 2011.

· The Authority’s vision for a new Allentown maintenance garage continues. De­signs for this project are 60% complete and we are in the process of finding the nec­essary dollars to complete this important maintenance facility.

· Work on the Easton Intermodal Transportation Center has seen significant pro­gress. The FTA approved the Environmental Assessment, the City purchased the properties on South Third St., and design efforts are moving forward.

· The new bus shelter program will purchase 200 shelters over the next five years. Staff continues to work with the cities and other municipalities to move this from con­cept to actual construction.

· The initiation of an ADA Certification program. The program is being finalized with the expectation that initial evaluations will begin in August and September 2010.

· The maintenance of the Metro Plus fleet moves forward with the arrival of 20 new vans.

· ADA paratransit services materials are being updated.

· The completing of the Rebranding / Design Project. Key elements are the Au­thority’s new logo, new website, better schedules and timetables, better bus stop signage, and system identification.

· The relationship of land use and transit performance was a focus throughout the year. This included outreach projects to key townships that are serviced by LANtaBus and ongoing discussion with the cities in coordinating land use goals de­veloped at the municipal level, with policies favorable to the development of the tran­sit system.

· The operating program beginning July 1, 2011 is based on a budget of approxi­mately $34.5 million. In addition, the Authority has established a capital improvement program, which will invest approximately $8.8 million in equipment and facilities.

· The operation program for FY 2011-2012 includes an increase in LANTBus fares, effective October 1, 2011. This increase is part of an effort to maintain current service levels, and to provide funding for implementation of route restructuring.

As you can see the Authority has been very focused and busy over the last year striving to make every ride safer, more comfortable, and more rider friendly.