Central Yavapai Solicits Feedback on Plans to Regional Public Transit
The people have spoken, and the county has listened. On Feb. 12, 2020, Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization, in collaboration with the Student Government Association, visited campus to educate on their impending plans and gather valuable feedback from a population that would utilize their end product. Central Yavapai recognizes how the area is growing and wants to facilitate expansion by providing a means for accessibility in the present and future. “Going to the stores to buy daily necessities is a huge challenge when you don’t have a car and the only way you can get there is a shuttle that comes once a week when we are likely busy with classes and events,” contributes student Haidee Wesala. While these benefits are particularly favorable to college students without vehicles, it also targets service to veterans, older people, and those with disabilities or who otherwise don’t drive.
For context, Central Yavapai is proposing a demonstration project to show the need for public transportation in the region. The project is comprised of a 3-year trial test, with evaluations annually to ensure it is effective. After the allotted time, a permanent decision to grow or reject the project will be determined. The demonstration project creates three bus services that connect the area’s shopping and large employment centers. For farther distances, these routes will connect to the Yavapai Regional Transit. The routes include Prescott to Prescott Valley, Prescott to Dewey Humboldt, and Prescott to Ernest A. Love Field. Because this project encompasses the majority of the region, the estimated cost to function is about $1.8 million per year of operation. Central Yavapai is fulfilling this large sum with a combination of federal sources and local services. If the project continues annually, the costs are bound to increase as the project expands.
In relevance to Embry-Riddle Prescott campus, Central Yavapai is propositioning having one of their routes stop on campus. To do this, the organization arrived at the university to talk with administration and to poll the likelihood of students using this resource. By filling out surveys, students expressed their desires and hopes for the project’s turnout. The responses ranged from location requests to the consistency and reliability of the transit. Students applied their previous experiences of public transportation to what they were requesting from the county. Student Ashleigh Cook asked, “Are there going to be metrocards? Like they have in cities?” The county’s response was inconclusive, responding that they were considering it but haven’t reached a definite conclusion yet. Additionally, I inquired about their ideas for areas the transit wouldn’t cover, since this region is spread out and not centralized. In response, they highlighted their demand responsive program, reading from the brochure how, “The van will pick them up where they are and drop them off where they want to go within the designated zone”. For questions Central Yavapai couldn’t answer, they jotted down notes to reconsider in their development. With many in attendance, the Central Yavapai presenters returned to their organization with numbers to crunch and responses to read.