Local Summit Seeks to Address Laramie Transportation Issues
Local charity organization Interfaith-Good Samaritan held a local summit on Septmber 6, 2018 to address the transportation needs of the Laramie community. More than 60 stakeholders from all corners of Laramie gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn to address the transportation issues that currently exist in the Laramie community and brainstorm solutions.
The largest challenges included:
- Reliability of current transportation
- Isolation of West Laramie
- Affordability of taxi and ride share services
- Lack of information about existing public transportation
- Difficulty in upkeep of public transportation vehicles
The Eppson Center, The University of Wyoming Transportation Services, and WYDOT provided numbers on the funding and usage for current transportation services like the Public Assisted Transportation Service (PATS), LaramieLink, and UW's "Demand Response" services, such as: ADA Paratransit, Dial-A-Ride, and SafeRide.
In the 2017 financial year, the PATS bus provided more than 14,000 rides to members of the Laramie community, while the university's services provided more than 650,000 rides to Laramie residents. WYDOT is currently at maximum funding for both programs, having allocated $68,091 of state funds for PATS and $1,246 for the University of Wyoming Transportation Services. However, WYDOT noted that an increase of ridership could lead to more money being allocated to those services.
After identifying public transportation issues, attendees separated into groups based on the issue they wanted to address. The groups were broken into: Funding, Infrastructure, Coordination of Services, Public and Private Partnerships, Expanding and Alternative Services, Education, Research, and Leadership. The groups provided several solutions for the current problems, including:
- Applying for more grant funding
- Coordination of current services to reduce redundancy
- Increase grocery delivery services
- Create a West Laramie route
- Educating the community about existing services
- Third party community needs assessment
- Create a centralized transportation board
- Build bus shelters
The owners of Snowy Range Taxi, Matthew Peck and Chantelle Brawley also submitted a written statement to the summit, citing that the problem is in part is due to the low demand for transportation, at least during the day. The lack of demand for daytime rides caused the company to cut daytime operations.
Following the summit, a Steering Committee, comprised of 19 summit attendees, was put together to "take this initiative to the next phase", according to a report from the summit.