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Frequency is key

When it comes to the implementation of better transit in the West End and Louisville in general; frequencies aren't great. Many buses lack proper service at convenient times, hindering the system from garnering ridership, public support, and consideration of budget changes.

It's no secret that the residents of West Louisville; like most in America; don't have access to adequate public transit. Many factors affect a transit authority's ability to serve a given community, This includes the number of routes and systems operated, the grades they operate, and especially their frequencies. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); 45% of Americans do not have access to public transit options. That's a big gap. Even the systems that do operate in US cities often are inconvenient & seen as a public good similar to that of homeless shelters or food pantries. Many civic boards and others in charge of a city's funds and how they are distributed do not have transit as a priority, often because of one reason; ridership. If citizens aren't utilizing transit; elected officials see no reason to invest and expand transit in their districts. Leaving the question now; how do we regain ridership?

Ridership is key to achieving public support and backing for transit and putting the issue under a spotlight for local governments. According to, "Investing in frequency is a sure bet. In fact, the only transit agencies in the US seeing increased transit ridership in 2017 made improvements to frequency." If TARC makes the necessary changes to frequency; we could see ridership spike. Ridership isn't difficult to gain, but getting the ball rolling can be. To get better frequencies; we'd need more funding for TARC, which is a challenge already.

What routes would need to have added frequency? Our best bet to garner ridership is to add frequency to routes that already have high ridership numbers. Routes such as the 23 - Broadway, 10 - Dixie Rapid, and 4 Fourth Street running every 5 - 10 minutes every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. could easily garner those who don't ride the system already to hop on board, especially since riders these routes service are more likely to transition to transit from automobiles on their daily commutes to work and elsewhere.

As of late, TARC has been moving in the opposite direction. Recently to the publishing of This article, TARC discontinued several express bus routes servicing East End commuters: 17X, 31X, 40X, and the 61X are now no longer operating. In addition to this, TARC reduced the number of buses per hour on the 4, 6, 10, 18, 72, and 74 buses. Many of the representatives on TARC's board do not regularly use public transit; if at all. Those in charge of ensuring the over 30,000 daily users of TARC should be making decisions for the better that do not harm our communities but keep us all from being connected to one another.

At the end of the day, there is very little we can do; but what we can do makes a difference. Advocating for effective and necessary transit and letting our elected officials know what our priorities are for transit will help us move in the right direction.

Thanks for reading! Check out some of our other blogs focusing on more about West Louisville!


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