Digital schedule board at RTS Transit Center
City wheels

Does The RTS Transit Center Solve The Rochester, New York Transportation Problem?

The Rochester, New York Transit Center Has Some Serious Problems

Recently I addressed the Problems I have with the Rochester, New York Amtrak Station not being adequate for intercity travel. Now there’s an even bigger problem I’d like to discuss, and that’s the RTS Transit Center here in Rochester, New York.

The RTS Transit Center Opened In 2014

When The RTS Transit Center opened in 2014 it was a major improvement over the old Transit System we had.

The RTS Transit Center is absolutely stunning, with its high detailed ceilings that are well lit.

There’s also well laid out entrances, and plenty of windows for light.

Unlike the former Transit System, there’s ticket machines available, that accept credit and debit cards.

Bus Pass Machines at RTS Transit Center
Bus Pass Machines at RTS Transit Center

This is a very convenient option, especially for people like me who don’t carry much cash.

It’s also much better than waiting outside in the freezing cold in the winter, and scorching heat in the summer.

The Former Transit System Was Absolutely Horrible

At one time, way back in the transportation dinosaur days, you had to wait outside in cold bus shelters.

Sometimes you’d freeze half to death, even with the heating lamps on.

And in the summer you’d roast to a crisp under the dirty, clear plastic roofs.

You’d also be very lucky to find a place to sit, seeing that most shelters only had one bench to sit on.

With The Old RTS Transit System You Could Never Find Your Bus

I remember when all the buses would line up on Main Street and Clinton Avenue.

As soon as we got off one bus, we’ve have to run like an Olympian sprinter to see if our bus home was in the line up.

If our bus wasn’t there, we’d have to walk back and forth like a yo-yo, in order to make sure we didn’t miss it.

After a short while, this game with finding our bus, before it took off was extremely irritating and tiring.

And due to the fact that the buses would only wait for a few minutes, at most, we’ve missed plenty of buses.

Overall, the old Transit System was completely outdated and would always make you miserable.

What I like About The New RTS Transit Center

As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a lot to like about the new RTS Transit Center.

Digital schedule board at RTS Transit Center
Digital schedule board at RTS Transit Center

I like the fact that they have electronic screens displaying all the bus route schedules.

And there’s even a section to where you can get a physical copy of every bus route.

Maps and regular paper schedules at RTS Transit Center
Maps and regular paper schedules at RTS Transit Center

Plus, the amazing thing about the RTS Transit Center is that it’s almost similar to an airport.

Bus gate at RTS Transit Center
Bus gate at RTS Transit Center

Every single bus has it’s own terminal with a screen that tells when the next bus is leaving.

What I Seriously Hate About The RTS Transit Center

I truly hate the fact that there’s not benches available, to sit at every terminal.

This means that if the next bus leaves in an hour, you might have to stand if all the other benches are full.

And while we’re talking about standing, let’s discuss how long the wait times are for each bus to show up.

The Wait Time Between Buses Is Long

In the morning the buses run more frequent, but when the afternoon comes rolling through, the buses come every hour.

It’s also the same on the weekends. With a lack of benches, and no place to grab a bite to eat in the Transit Center, the wait can be excruciatingly aggravating.

There’s a few vending machines located in the middle section of the Transit Center, but a couple places to eat would be very satisfying, especially for people who haven’t had time to eat during the day.

The RTS Transit Center Bathrooms Are Filthy

Another huge issue I have is, with how dirty the bathrooms always are. There’s always toilet paper and food wrappers thrown around.

And nobody seems to know how to flush the toilets. Nobody wants to smell other people’s droppings, and one of the very reasons why I don’t use the bathrooms while at the Transit Center anymore.

The Bus Parking Spots In The RTS Transit Center Are Too Narrow

It’s also very annoying when were waiting for the bus to leave, and we have to wait for a supervisor to show up, and help the driver back the bus out of the parking spot.

Obviously, they made the sections where the buses pull in and out, way too narrow.

The RTS Transit Center Schedules Aren’t Always Clear

The bus schedules can also be very confusing, especially for passengers who don’t ride the bus often.

Many of the bus routes will go to multiple places, and aren’t always clear with what specific places they go to.

Fortunately, there’s customer service desks where passengers can go to ask for information.

Information desk at RTS Transit Center
Information desk at RTS Transit Center

It’s just a big inconvenience, especially when you’re running late for your bus and don’t have much time to waste.

Does The Lack Of Public Transportation Lead To Poverty?

There’s been many studies involving the correlation between poverty and lack of public transportation.

From personal experience, I’d definitely say that lack of proper public transportation does contribute to poverty.

When I first graduated from college I didn’t own a car. All the jobs that I qualified for, and paid enough weren’t accessible to me.

RTS Buses Don’t Go To Certain Areas Where The Jobs Are

The buses either didn’t go to the areas where the jobs were located, or didn’t quite take me all the way there.

I’d be left with no choice but to walk, or take an expensive taxi the rest of the way, known as the Last Mile Problem.

Lack Of RTS Buses Leads To Poverty In The City Of Rochester

By the time I would have paid for the taxis twice a day, I’d be no better off than working at a lower paying job closer to home.

Many city residents are currently facing these same problems.

They can’t afford to buy a vehicle, to be able to drive to the higher paying jobs located outside the city of Rochester, and therefore stuck working at low paying, dead end jobs.

A Word Of Advice To The RTS Transit Center

Lately, the RTS Transit Center has been holding meetings with the public, asking how service can be improved.

This is something that the RTS Transit Service has been doing right.

I’m also a huge fan of the discussions over more frequent buses, and more direct routes.

If these two services can be added, along with buses going to areas currently not served, that would be fantastic.

Think about the elderly and handicapped, having to wait at bus stops for over an hour in the heat or cold.

Having a Transit Center to wait at out of bad weather is a plus. But it doesn’t help the passengers who have to wait outside at the bus stops.

Add Benches To Every RTS Transit Center Terminal

I understand that you don’t want trouble makers hanging out at the Transit Center.

It’s a shame that some passengers just can’t go downtown to catch their bus, and go home without causing commotion.

But that’s what we have security for, and from what I’ve witnessed, they do an incredible job at keeping everyone safe.

If were going to be waiting over an hour for a bus, at least give us decent passengers a place to sit.

After a long day at work, some of us are tired, and would greatly appreciate a place to sit and rest.

Put A Few Places To Eat Inside The RTS Transit Center

Some of us passengers work long hours, and don’t get time to eat, especially when running to catch our bus.

I’m not suggesting that you put in full service restaurants, but a few places such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and even Dunkin Donuts would be nice.

Afterall, you do advertise these places on your digital screens. If you’re going to tease us hungry passengers, the least you could do is have them available.

These restaurants would be awesome to have during the long waits for the buses, and would also generate extra cash for the RTS Transit Center.

You could add a few places to sit at each restaurant, and monitor in order to prevent littering.

More RTS Transit Center Supervisors Are Needed In Order To Back Buses Out Quicker

I’ve lost count of the amount of times my bus has left the RTS Transit Center late, on my way home.

There’s been times when we’ve had to wait 10 minutes before a supervisor showed up.

After working all day, many of us just want to go home.

Inside terminal area at transit center
Inside terminal area at transit center

I know that you can’t do much with the narrow bus parking spots. But you can add more supervisors so us passengers can get home quicker.

Final Word

As you can see, the RTS Transit Center has gotten many things right.

They built a state of the art Transit Center that has won numerous design awards.

The fares to ride the bus are super affordable, and can be purchased at conveniently located machines.

A few of the suggestions that I’d recommend the most, is to make sure the bathrooms are cleaner.

And try to have buses run more frequently.

I know that public transportation will never be perfect, but if you keep listening to the needs of your customers, it can at least keep getting better.

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