I went to the Ozark Regional Transit Public Meeting Saturday before last. That is where I saw the Ford e100 Transit Van. What I want to add here is that I am still in favor of EV for buses and other alternative vehicles for public transportation. But I understand the issues about tech in the industry. Never fear, we will continue to ask for Battery Electric Buses. We will get them when the tech issues are solved.
I have been thinking that we need to enlist people to go to city council and county court meetings and ask for transit. ORTA Executive Director Joel Gardner said most of our local leadership don’t hear citizens ask for mass transit. So he suggests, and I concur, that we need people at every meeting in at least the 4 Cities to go and stand up during the public comment time. All you have to say is, “I support/want public transit.” That’s it. No elaborate speeches. Just ask and sit down. If this happens at every meeting it will create a steady pressure to produce results.
We also discussed the possibility of an airport shuttle bus. Mr. Gardner said the roads to XNA are poor. Part of public transit is being on time. The narrow twisty roads out to our airport mean delays are going to be common. Which takes us back to being on time. While I’m hopeful we can find a way to not pave NWA up, we do need a 4 lane out to XNA. At some point we need to ask ARDOT to complete the 4 lane. That is also a good use of our time. If there was an airport shuttle I know I would use it. If it were on time.
I was also asked for an interview for a documentary film being shot at ORTA. I’ll let you know when we can see it. This is my second appearance on some sort of broadcast in 2 weeks. Yay me.
I also learned that we can use the meeting room at ORTA HQ for ORBTS meetings. I will post about the first meeting soon. We will use the next few public meetings to train members how to write letters to the editor, rehearse speaking up at city council and county meetings, and people a booth for the farmer’s markets and gatherings around NWA. We will start to print pamphlets to hand out about the benefits of mass transit. That means that we will start to fund raise in earnest soon too. Pamphlets aren’t cheap.
One last thing, I was in a meeting today and one of the thoughts about our group is we are too gung ho on rail. Let’s set the record straight about this subject too. ORBTS works for an integrated transit system. However most Arkansans/Arkansawyers are familiar with buses since most of us took a bus to school. But passenger rail is a distant memory here. And there are a load of false assumptions about rail we need to correct. A big part of what we do is education. There is still much to learn about passenger rail. We have our work cut out for us.