public transportation

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Until recently, Sherrodney Fulmore rode a bus to get to and from his job at Wegmans.

From his home in Rochester’s 19th Ward to the Holt Road Wegmans in Webster, the trip usually took about an hour, he said.

Fulmore rode on the Regional Transit Service’s Access buses -- the smaller shuttle-size buses that offer curb-to-curb service for people with disabilities.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Rochester area, Fulmore stopped riding the bus.

“We wanted to cut the chance of him getting sick,” said his father, Frank Fulmore.

James Brown / / WXXI News

All RTS rides will be free starting Friday until further notice. CEO Bill Carpenter said that'll limit the amount of times the fare box is touched during the coronavirus outbreak. 

An RTS employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but Carpenter says this decision is unrelated.

What’s new with RTS? This hour, we sit down with RTS CEO Bill Carpenter who shares a number of updates.

Reimagine RTS is a redesign of Monroe County’s public transit system that’s set to launch on June 29th. RTS is also launching new mobile technology and adding electric buses.

Carpenter joins us in studio to discuss the work underway with these projects and what customers can expect both now and by the end of June. In studio:

The Community Design Center's (CDC) Reshaping Rochester series continues with a conversation about multi-modal transportation in urban areas.

Shin-pei Tsay is the director of policy, cities, and transportation at Uber. Previously, she was a commissioner of public design in New York City. She'll be in Rochester next week for the CDC's series, but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss how we can reasonably assess public demand for different forms of transportation in cities, what kind of buy-in is necessary to achieve significant change, and how transportation can be a key component in creating a sustainable urban future.

Our guests:

Does urbanism die in the winter? After the first major snowstorm of the season, a social media thread about a man who walked through the middle of the street went viral. Some community members said the man was trying to make a point about the sidewalks not being plowed. The thread lead to conversations about urbanism in the cold months.

We sit down with local urbanists who discuss how to develop urban areas that remain multi-modal year round. Our guests:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Officials at RTS have announced a new fare structure for military veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.

One of the changes involves the 50-cent half-price fare for seniors and people with disabilities that is currently in effect only during non-peak hours. 

With the new fare structure, that half-price fare would be in effect all day.

Also, with the new plan, military veterans would ride the bus for free.

First, there was a Streetcar Named Desire; now there is a question about whether Rochester has a desire for a streetcar. A new film called “The Trolley” is coming to the Little Theatre as part of Reconnect Rochester’s Rochester Street Films series. It tells the story of trolleys as shapers of our urban environments; it describes their disappearance; and finally, it calls for their return to prominence in the American future.

But is that realistic? What impact would that have? Our guests are ready to talk about how we get around:

  • Howard Decker, author, architect, urbanist, and member of Reconnect Rochester's Advisory Council
  • Carlos Mercado, rail advocate and member of Reconnect Rochester's Advisory Council
  • Stephen Low, filmmaker for "The Trolley"

City Lab is reporting that the number of car-rich households is on the rise in many cities, even in those which are transit-oriented and where ride-sharing is heaving used. Why?

We discuss the economic impact of more vehicle ownership and what it means for public transit. In studio:

We’re talking about road diets. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to reducing lanes or roads in order to minimize traffic accidents, reduce the amount of traffic, and create more space for all modes of transportation. Transit experts say road diets "can be seen as one of the transportation safety field's greatest success stories,” but, despite the research, critics say the best way to reduce traffic is to create more lanes.

The state DOT says it is moving in a direction of road diets in places like Pittsford and Brighton, but bicycling enthusiasts are concerned about what’s going on along East Avenue, where there’s a debate about how wide the turning lane should be. Our guests weigh in with their perspectives. In studio:

  • Heather O'Donnell, Leadership Team for Transportation, Rochester People's Climate Coalition
  • Robin Wilt, member of the Brighton Town Board
  • Dr. Scott MacRae, president of the Rochester Cycling Alliance

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York City's subway system handles about 5.7 million riders every weekday, more than 10 times the combined daily ridership of all other public transportation systems in the rest of New York state.

Even though their ridership is nowhere near the Big Apple's, upstate New York's largest public transit face many of the same challenges their big-city counterparts at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority deal with on a regular basis, including aging infrastructure and increased demand for service.