StarMetro needs more routes

StarMetro, Tallahassee’s bus system, has limited routes. 

Tallahassee residents rely on the city’s transportation system for school, work and other necessities, but StarMetro doesn’t always provide reliable transportation. 

StarMetro is the city-owned public bus service. StarMetro operates both fixed-route and dial-a-ride services within city limits. The downtown terminal, C.K. Steele Plaza, is where you’ll find busses connecting from all parts of the city, and people of all ages looking to get to their next destination. 

The busses have a schedule that runs from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the location. The busses are labeled with letters that help riders know where they are headed.  

The night routes and weekend schedule changes, forcing citizens to find another way around the city. At night, only four buses circle around the busy town, and on weekends, the first bus doesn’t start running until 11 a.m. Irregular bus routes can be frustrating for riders who rely on StarMetro. 

The “M” is one example of a bus that changes routes after hours. The M bus starts on South Monroe Street, goes to Tharpe Street, and ends on Portland Road. The bus runs every 30 minutes up until about 7 p.m. Then, the route changes to “Route 5” running every hour until 10:45 p.m.  

“I get off at 12 in the morning, and have to spend money on an Uber to get home,” said Carlisha Jones, a 23-year-old student at Tallahassee Community College. Jones has been riding the bus for three years, and isn’t satisfied with the irregular routes. 

Emily Badger wrote in a blog about the change in public transit that took place seven years ago. They started decentralizing the bus routes, making it easier for people to get to work. In the agency’s study of local employment density, jobs are clustered on the eastern edge of the city, meaning that most people are employed on the east side.  

The transition seven years ago only took care of minor issues. There are still very limited bus routes to take people to work on the weekends. 

“I feel for the young people who have late shifts. Maybe things will change if the workers speak up,” said Elise Brown, 32, a bus driver for StarMetro. She has been working for the public bus system for seven years, watching people get on her bus every day, in a rush to get to the next place. 

The people of Tallahassee are traveling every day, and regular bus routes can make a huge difference in the community.