Efforts continue with mass transit - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Efforts continue with mass transit

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Within a year's time, more than a dozen new buses may be in the hands of the Guam Regional Transit Authority and on our island's roadways. And these are just one of several efforts as part of a pilot program to expand the mass transit program.

It was nearly a month ago when a pilot program was launched aimed at addressing the needs and possible expansion of the mass transit program on Guam. Senator Aline Yamashita is leading the group having already held three community conversations going over issues from reliability, accessibility and customer service. Since last week, several developments have taken place.

"But now we are actually moving forward and the IFB for the buses, the 14 ARRA funded buses has left the Attorney General's Office, is now at the DPW and then after DPW it goes to GSA, so I'm very hopeful that we're going to have a new fleet, it has to be built, so within a year it will have to be here," he said.

The over dozen buses will be provided through ARRA funding that will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant possibly through a multi-year service contract. Yamashita says the next steps are working with the GRTA board to discuss what are the different standards of service. "And what's really important for us to define what do we want it to look like, so do we want GRTA to be a public/private partnership, do we want it to be government-owned/government-run, do we want it be privately owned so that end game is being defined and decided by Governor Calvo and once he decides that then we'll talk about how to best get there so that's a really critical puzzle piece," she explained.

Yamashita says she'll continue to hold the community conversation meetings with stakeholders along with working with the General Services Agency, the Attorney General's Office and the Office of Public Accountability to see that everything falls into place. "So the correct way to do it, the way we want to do it, to ensure that the numbers of people riding the bus will be attracted to do that, the ridership needs to go up and the whole line of where it's going to go and the spoke system is being further defined so we're learning a lot, a lot of conversation and it's moving forward. I think this will become even bigger and better," she concluded.

As for the existing fleet, Yamashita says that isn't being ignored either as improvements continue. For example, she says discussions are underway with GRTA to eliminate the normal noon to 2pm break time of transit in order to provide more services. For now, no meeting date has been set for the next community conversation. 

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