Local News

TARC Proposes Fare Increases, Service Cuts to Balance Budget

The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is proposing a hike in bus fares, the elimination of nine express routes and other service changes to offset a projected $4.6 million budget shortfall next fiscal year.

Officials will seek public input on the proposed changes at six pubic meetings to be held May 15-17.

“With fuel costs, health care costs and pension costs, the sad fact is that our expenses are going up faster than our revenues, so we’ve got to do something to balance that,” said TARC Executive Director Barry Barker.

Under the proposal, one-way adult fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.75 and a monthly pass would increase from $42 to $50, among other hikes. Barker says the proposed rates are in line with public transportation fares charged in similar sized cities like Indianapolis and Cincinnati, where one-way adult fare is already $1.75.

This would be TARC’s first fare increase since 2008.

Local News

Louisville Region Partners Public Transportation with Google

The Louisville Metro region has joined the ranks of hundreds of other metropolitan areas that have partnered public transportation with Google.

Passengers can now click a public transit option on Google Maps to find the closest scheduled Transit Authority of River City (TARC) route to their destination. Users will be given three departure times for this route.

“We want to be on the leading edge, but not the bleeding edge. I think we’ve been working with this for six months, eight months. And so you can see we’re joining about 500 other cities,” said Barry Barker, TARC’s executive director.

Environment Local News

Rally Will Encourage Louisville to Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Louisville will participate in a global movement tomorrow to offer up ideas for moving beyond fossil fuels.

Moving Planet, Moving Louisville is designed to call attention to the city’s transportation carbon footprint.

Drew Foley is one of the event’s organizers. He says different cities are focusing on different aspects of fossil fuels.

“We just decided to focus on transportation in Louisville because we needed something to focus on,” he said. “But other places will be focusing on reducing emissions from factories, coal plants, any way to make our air cleaner.”

During the rally, activists will ask the city to take steps to make local transportation cleaner and less reliant on fossil fuels.

“And so we’re just asking the city to reduce private auto use, improve public transit, support walking and biking, limit suburban sprawl, lower harmful emissions, create low carbon mobility and enforce traffic rules,” Foley said.

Foley is encouraging people to attend the event using as little nonrenewable energy as possible—whether on foot, by bike, or using public transportation.

The event will begin at 4:00pm at Jefferson Square Park.

Local News

Public Less Satisfied With Metro Transportation

Louisville Metro residents are dissatisfied with parts of its transportation service, according to results from Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force survey.

On Wednesday, Louisville’s Merger 2.0 Task Force release its survey, which measures public response to Metro Government services. The biggest disparity was in public transportation, where around 50 percent say they’re dissatisfied with the service. But responding to the survey may be difficult.

When asked what public transportation changes would satisfy people, the results showed a disparity divided among income levels. People with lower income say more bus stops, or better service routes would increase their satisfaction. Where people with higher income say they would like to see a light rail system.

“The discussion about light rail is a broader discussion about what kind of community we want Louisville to grow up and be. The focus on bus service is about they I need to be able to get to a job, I need to be able to get to an education, to medical services and so forth,” said TARC Executive Director Barry Barker.

Barker said he wasn’t surprised by the survey results, but any changes to TARC will rely on more funding. Barker has had conversations with Mayor Greg Fischer, but is uncertain what changes, if any, Fischer will make, he said. But he expects Fischer will take the survey seriously.

“I’ve found the mayor in my dealing to be very responsive. He certainly is not going to go through this effort and not do something with it,” said Barker.

Merger 2.0 Task Force subcommittees have until Oct. 1 to make recommendations to Fischer.

David Allgood is vice chair of the transportation subcommittee. He says subcommittee discussions always come back to funding. But Allgood says there may be a few recommendations that the subcommittee will make that may save money in the transportation budget.

Local News

Increased Demand Leads to Expanded TARC Service in South Louisville

The Transit Authority of River City is extending the Fourth Street route farther south into the Glengarry neighborhood and adding a morning express trip from Jeffersontown to downtown Louisville.

TARC officials say the changes are a response to increased ridership and demand from customers in south Louisville. The extra service will cost the agency about $750 a week. TARC director Barry Barker is certain ridership will increase, but he says the increase in revenue from those fares is minor. “Does it pay 100 percent of the cost? No. But we’ve got an additional bus out there, it’s well-utilized, it’s virtually full every morning.”

Barker says fares account for about 15% of TARC’s budget. He says if TARC is to truly grow, outside funding will have to be increased. “Our sources of funds are federal, state and local. So that’s where we’re trying. The mass transit trust fund—which is the occupational license fee—had some growth in it this past year. State funding has stayed flat. And what they’re talking about in Washington is reducing the funding.”

Earlier this year, TARC used a $1 million federal grant to add buses to the Dixie and Preston Highway and the Broadway and Bardstown Road routes. Last year, several routes were cut due to lagging revenues from the city.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

TARC Takes Public Comment on Louisville Loop Service

The Transit Authority of River City is taking public comments on a proposed new bus service that connects various parks to the Louisville Loop.

Two people showed up for an open house on the plan Tuesday afternoon. One of them, John Owen,  said TARC should improve its current services, rather than add more.

“To me the service should attract and appeal to the masses. You know healthy hometown grant aside or not they’re extending the 63 bus to cover this so why could not our regular 43 and 27 route cover this?” he said.

The other half of the audience, Friends of the Louisville Loop member Stewart Burn, said the route will help familiarize people with the loop.

“It’ll be a good first start,” he says.  “You know we’ll see how people use it and primarily I understand that this is meant for people that aren’t exercising, that aren’t biking or aren’t walking to get them interested and show them where the route starts.”

TARC is funding the service with $300,000 from a federal grant, and the money can’t be used on other services. TARC did, however, recently use federal money to improve two existing routes.”

The grant will cover the new route for one year. Service begins in May.

TARC will accept comments online or by phone or mail until March 18th.

Local News

TARC Adds Hybrid Buses To Fleet

by Gabe Bullard

The Transit Authority of River City is nearly doubling the amount of hybrid buses on the road.

TARC has purchased nine new gas-electric hybrids, bringing the total number of hybrids to 21, which is about ten percent of the total fleet. TARC director Barry Barker says the new buses will be paid for with federal and state funds.

“Seven of them came out of the ARRA program; out of the economic stimulus program,” he says. “The other two came out of putting together some other grants we had as well as the state giving us the ability to use toll credits.”

Each bus cost $558 thousand, which is more than traditional a traditional diesel bus, but Barker says the hybrids will save on maintenance and fuel costs, with each one using 3,000 fewer gallons of diesel per year than older buses.

Local News

Flooding Disrupts TARC Bus Services

The morning’s flooding has city busses running behind schedule. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The Transit Authority of River City or TARC is reporting that this morning’s flooding has disrupted bus schedules and even prevented some busses from getting on the road, says TARC spokesperson Nina Walfoort.

“Almost all of our buses are on some amount of detour,” Walfoort says. “There’s a lot of viaducts that are closed. There’s a lot of flooding on the street. Some routes are not running at all right now.”

Walfoort says bus lines that are in service were running up to an hour and a half behind schedule at around noon.

As of noon some buses were still in the garage because of flooding nearby, says Nina Walfoort.

“We’re not taking any busses out of the garage,” she says. “We’ve got about 4 inches of water right outside of our garage.”

TARC is still working to get services back up to normal.

State of Affairs

What's New at TARC?

Monday, May 11, 2009
What’s New at TARC?
If you’ve heard about TARC in the news lately, it’s probably about where the buses won’t take you: the Kentucky Derby. This was the first year that Derby shuttles were chartered by a private company instead of the Transit Authority of the River City. But, nevertheless, TARC continues to provide comprehensive service across the Louisville Metro area on a daily basis. Monday we will talk with TARC Executive Director Barry Barker to find out what’s new with TARC and what changes may be on the horizon.

Listen to the Show

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