Public transportation problems in Rochester, NY

Before I get into telling you what’s wrong with the public transportation in Rochester, Ny let me first give the city of Rochester and the Regional Transit Center credit for that they got right so far.

The new Transit Center in downtown Rochester, NY is much better than the public bus system that they had before. Instead of running up and down Main Street looking for your bus you can now look up at a digital board and see what terminal and time that your bus will be arriving and leaving. It’s also a lot warmer than waiting inside those old bus shelters with the lousy  heating lights that really didn’t help that much when the weather was extemely cold. Another few great features that I like is that you can buy tickets to ride the bus from machines using your credit/debit cards and if anybody acts up there’s plenty of security making it way more safer than being on a dark cold corner at night.

For those that like to do a mixed commute combining bicycle with a bus ride there’s racks on the front of the bus to put your bike or if you don’t have a bicycle of your own there’s Zagster bike rental in many locations for your convenience at a very affordable price.

Zagster bike share station sign.

Zagster bike share station sign.

I’ve also noticed that the City of Rochester has also added many more bicycle lanes making it much safer for us bicyclists to commute to where we need to go with less chances of getting flattened by impatient patient drivers. All these great additions are well appreciated and makes getting around Rochester, Ny more pleasant but it’s still not enough and I’ll tell you the reasons why.

Bicycle lane.

Bicycle lane.

Let’s first start with the public bus system known as Regional Transit Service. There’s been many times in the morning when the bus has been late or never showed up at all with no reason explained by the second driver as to why. Now don’t get me wrong the bus shows up more than it doesn’t but  when it doesn’t show up as planned it can makes those who need to catch a second bus very late to work. Another problem is that the later in the day it gets the less frequent the buses run until around the 5 pm hours you can end up waiting for almost an hour for the next one.  This can make taking a bus longer to get to where you can go than riding a bicycle or even walking. You can always bring your bicycle with you but if there’s already two bicycle on the front rack of the bus you are left riding the rest of the way to your destination but if its raining or snowing out very heavily you might be stuck waiting for the next bus that usually will be a full hour seeing that it’s even later in the day yet.

This is where Zagster comes in handy but the problem is that there’s not always a convenient location to drop the rental bike off when you’re done with it and may still have to end up walking the rest of the way to where you’re going in the dark and sometimes unsafe streets.

Close up of Zagster bicycle renter dock station.

Close up of Zagster bicycle renter dock station.

Unfortunately the Zagster bicycle rental isn’t even an option at this time of year because they discontinued the service until the Spring of next year due to the winter months.

Empty Zagster bike rental docking station.

Empty Zagster bike rental docking station.

Last but not least you can use the last option which would require a taxi or Uber but there’s no telling how much you’re going to pay or how long you’re going to have to wait before you can find a ride.

I’m going to go on a limb here and really think big because Rochester, NY use to think real big back in the old days and was good for doing things first, such as Kodak inventing film and Midtown Plaza being the first indoor mall in the United States. We need to start thinking like this again if we want Rochester, NY to be noticed and known for something again.

What we need is an option to allow people to use personal transportation all year around because during these modern times many cities are going for cleaner and greener cities such as New York City with is green spaces and more people are commuting on bicycles than ever before. For many years the City of Rochester had debated what to do with the abandoned subway tunnels that once existed in the Rochester, NY area. I’d propose that we clean, renovate and turn them into a bicycle highway with the option to allow people to walk along them also.  This would allow walkers and bicyclist to avoid traffic and bad weather plus creating less traffic and less waiting for buses that are severely delayed due to bad weather.

There’s also a skyway that use to be part of a whole network of tunnels that ran underground and above parts of Main Street and Clinton Avenue. You can still see part what’s  left connecting the Sibley Square building with the Mortimer parking garage on Clinton Avenue right next to the new Regional Transit Center.  If we were to add a few more sections above ground that had cover and tied this to the old Subway system we could encourage more alternative commuting to our city residents.

We could use the same template we did for the Regional Transit Service and put cameras and security in place making it even safer than it currently is in the Downtown region encouraging more people to use this system and maybe even get some shops and other businesses to move into the vicinity. This could create more foot traffic and eventually it might help bring the Downtown Rochester neighborhood back to life.

Many people will say this sounds too big to even attempt but sometimes you have to make big moves in order to make dramatic changes. Let’s start doing like the old Rochester, NY use to be and think big and be the first to set the standard for all other cities across the United States to want to model after.

And if I’m crazy that’s okay because many Entreprenuers were called crazy also such as George Eastman but look what they accomplished because of it. Hope you enjoy the post and pictures and feel free to let me know what you think.