TransIT Services of Frederick County actually evolved out of a three-route bus system operated by the City of Frederick from 1977 to 1993. In 1986, the Frederick County Commission on Aging and the Citizens Services Division applied to the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration for a $53,309 grant to develop “Transerv,” a paratransit / demand-response system that many disabled and elderly customers would use to get back and forth to medical and personal appointments.
In 1993, the City of Frederick’s bus service and Frederick County’s Transerv consolidated service under the name of TransIT Services of Frederick County, or TransIT for short.
Finally, in 2003, bus service expanded to the Connector Route system that remains in operation today.
Over the past 10 years, TransIT has won the title of Best Fixed Route System in Maryland (as awarded by the Transportation Association of Maryland, or TAM) four times (in 2012, 2008, 2005, and 2003). TransIT Plus hass won Best Paratransit Service three times since 1995 ( 2011, 2010, and 1995). TransIT is, truly, the “little system that could”!
“Little” is a relative term. Fifty-two vehicles provided just over 900,000 passenger trips from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012. That’s no small task, even though our fleet is much smaller than metro areas such as nearby Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
We survey our riders every three years, and 2013 is the year during which we will again be taking to the buses to talk to customers about what they like and what challenges they’d like us to address. When we last surveyed our customers in 2010, 62.7% of our riders were male; 37.3 were female. Most connector bus riders were between the ages of 18 & 35, while most shuttle riders were between 36 & 59 years of age. Close to 50% of riders on both Connectors and shuttles were full time employees, and while nearly 10% of Connector riders were students, only 3.4% of shuttle riders were.
Furthermore, fully 40% of riders on both the Connectors and the shuttles used the buses to travel for pleasure or on personal business; 35.5% of Connector and 57% of shuttle passengers chose to ride the buses because they cost less and are more convenient than driving, not necessarily because they didn’t have the ability to travel by car. And, we had a 97% overall service rating of “satisfied” or “very satisfied.”
We will be very interested to learn how the past three years have shaped riders’ travelling habits, reasons for using TransIT, and attitudes about the service they receive while riding. Are all of the comments we receive positive? Certainly not! However, we take a lot of pride in carefully evaluating all of the feedback, looking for patterns, and making changes in the system as necessary and possible to improve services.
If you’re a regular rider, please take a minute to talk to me or one of my co-workers when you see us on your bus, pen and clipboard in hand. And if you’re not a rider, what are you waiting for? Give us a trial run in the next few weeks and let us know what you think! The survey will be conducted in late June, and we’d love to hear from you.