Commuting in Tallahassee via StarMetro will become less bothersome this summer. The city’s public transit service will launch NOVA 2010, decentralizing its bus routes.
Riding the bus can be very time consuming. Today, these buses are running on a hub-and-spoke system. Reminiscent of a bicycle wheel, it requires riders to travel downtown to the C.K. Steele Plaza in order to transfer to another route.
For example, someone who wanted to travel to the Tallahassee Mall from Florida A&M’s campus would first have to transfer through downtown.
“NOVA 2010 simply means direct travel with more transfer options and less time spent on a bus,” said
Heater Teter, who is in her third-year as marketing director at StarMetro.
After the implementation of NOVA 2010 in July, the hub-and-spoke system will no longer be effective.
The new system will be more grid-like, allowing customers to travel directly to their destinations and transfer anywhere two or more routes overlap.
On average, 4.2 million trips per year are taken via StarMetro. Teter believes that ridership will increase once the new system begins.
Results from a 2009 survey revealed that only 6.8 percent of StarMetro’s riders actually worked in the downtown area. Meaning, it is likely that 93 percent of commuters unnecessarily travel to the downtown terminal.
“Our customers want to get to jobs,” said Teter.
The implementation of NOVA 2010 will not affect taxpayers. In order to attain approval from the commission, StarMetro had to prove its new system could be executed with no impact to the budget.
Although the downtown terminal will not be used as much, it will remain functional.
Open constructions with bays, to protect riders from harsh weather conditions called ‘Super-stops’ will replace some of the current bus stops. These stops will be equipped with bathrooms.
Despite the July 2011 launch date for NOVA 2010, the new stops have not been erected.
Due to the changes of the bus system, a brand new Ride Guide, containing illustrations of the routes and bus schedules, will be issued.
LaTavyia Lowe, who has been a StarMetro rider for two years, is glad for the changes to StarMetro’s routing system.
“I am so happy they are getting this new system. I will no longer have to wake up three hours before I have to be to work just to get there on time,” said Lowe.