The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is looking to improve bus stops by erecting more shelters and making more of them accessible to disabled riders.
Those are a couple priorities in JTA’s proposed budget, which CEO Nathaniel Ford presented to the City Council Finance Committee Friday. He said his goal is to build shelters over bus stops with at least 25 daily bus boarders. That’s a change from JTA’s policy of covering shelters with at the least 40 riders a day.
“We plan on covering all of those shelters that will meet that 25 passenger minimum within (a) three-year period,” Ford said Friday.
JTA already has a backlog of shelters that meet the 40-rider threshold. More than 50 of those will remain uncovered after this year, and about 80 more would meet the 25-rider mark. Of the city’s more than 2,600 bus stops, around 15 percent have shelters already.
In May, Councilman Reggie Brown questioned JTA’s criteria for building bus stop shelters, pointing to many covered shelters with seemingly low ridership. JTA started prioritizing covering stops with high ridership just two years ago.
Shelter Installations cost $20,000 each. JTA is budgeting $2.5 million to cover 22 more shelters next year and also to make 160 stops accessible for disabled people, which typically means connecting sidewalks to them.
Just 35 percent of JTA’s stops comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. That’s up from 15 percent three years ago.
Over the past three years, JTA has spent $8 million installing more than 100 new shelters and making 550 ADA accessible, Rassler said
She said when riders are surveyed, their top priorities are buses coming more frequently and on time.