First, the County decides to purchase Golden Pin Lanes, an historical community bowling center, located in Ward 3, recently identified as the Ward with the highest crime rate in Tucson, and now “Tucson Giving Free Rides Election Day”… another bad decision for Tucsonans.
This is a nice gesture, but most likely a waste of money (unless everyone gets on the bus to get to the election result party).
Some Tucsonans may be confused about why I am not more excited about this, since I asked for free transit service during the 2017 elections.
Here’s why I think this free transit day is not the best solution: The situation was different in 2017. There were only five (5) polling places that were open for the election, since it was an “all vote-by-mail” election. That made it difficult to get to the polls on the actual election day. For this election, the regular polling places are open. My regular polling place is just a short walk from my nearest bus stop, as is most likely the case for other voters who choose to go to the polls, and not receive an early ballot.
We can do better. Yes, we must increase the number of transit riders, and we must be methodical about how we increase ridership.
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Free transit on the 2nd Saturday of each month (or 1st Sunday of each month, or another specific day of the month, that Tucsonans recognize as a “Free Ride Day” — I chose Second Saturdays as a first example, because there is a monthly event downtown; I would also be excited about a First Friday, because it could get folks to the First Fridays with Felicia Bowling Fundraiser to Help End Systemic Domestic Violence at Golden Pin Lanes from 6:30-8:30pm — more info at http://www.feliciachew.com/enddv). Also, riders could take the bus to their favorite night event, without worrying about parking, having a drink, or failing eyesight. Dress up some of the busses, when there is a special event in town.
2. Encourage local artists and students to create posters and flyers for the interior of the busses, promoting events in town. Allow businesses to post event flyers in the busses.
3. On the Free Ride Day, have volunteers (or staff) riding the transit systems, with “VOLUNTEER” shirts that indicate they are available to help riders get to their destination, by showing the riders how to use the app, and how to read the map/schedule.
4. Blast “Free Ride Day” and services as PSAs through the local news stations (TV and radio) as PSAs and news articles, so there are no advert fees. Ask for a sponsor to pay for doing a wrap on some busses. Give regular shout-outs to the sponsors, and include their name somewhere on the wrap.
Through this process, Tucsonans will begin to realize that the transit service is relevant, available, convenient, easy to use, and ridership can increase.
#FindTheRightSolutionForTheChallenge #NotAOneSizeFitsAll #BeMethodical
– Felicia Chew, Candidate 2020 Pima County Supervisor, District 3 http://www.feliciachew.com/district3