MATA board members approved San Francisco's Nelson\Nygaard Consulting for a $350,000 short-range transit plan yesterday.
The five-year plan is expected to address visioning, routes, scheduling, capital assets, and finances.
"Both supported a simple, more direct routing system," said board member John Vergos. "One thing they were both definite on is that if buses come every 20 or 30 minutes, you will see increased ridership on those routes. ... It gets back to directness, simplicity, and clarity."
"I'm hoping that when we have the new routes, they'll be much easier to understand."
Staff and board members interviewed the two finalists, Nelson\Nygaard and Perteet, Inc. earlier this month. The format included a 30-minute presentation and an hour-long Q&A.
The board also talked about needing an answer line that is easy to understand.
Last week, the Flyer ran a letter to the editor that said it took 36 prompts to find out what time the Poplar bus would arrive at the downtown terminal under MATA's new call system:
"With the old system, you could get the same information by responding to six prompts. With the old line, the time actually spent on the phone to get the information was a third of what is required with the new system," John Manasco wrote.
"We're working as hard and as fast as we can to correct the problem," MATA head William Hudson told the board when questioned. "We're trying to correct it."