TERRELL –The findings of a major survey of transit and non-transit ridersin STAR Transit’s service area are the foundation on which the agency isbuilding outits short-and long-term development plans, according to Executive Director TommyHenricks.
“Over time, STAR Transit will evaluate changes in user needs and assess theperceptions of services by utilizing this data and that of other rider surveys whichwe will be conducting on a regular basis,” Henricks said. “This input is essentialas we plan service enhancements, develop informational resources, and attract newriders.”
The largest group represented by survey respondents who are transit users was 45 to60 of age, and comprise 38% of riders. Respondents ages 25 to 44 made up 24% of riders; while those 16-24 are 9% of riders; and 4% were younger than 15. Most respondents were employed, 38% fulltime and 9% part-time. One third, or 35 %of the participants were retired; 8% are unemployed; 6% are college students, and 3% are K-12 students.
One-third of the respondents reported having a physical disability.
Of the respondents, 61% said they use STAR Transit, 31% use DART and others use Medicaid transportation, paratransit and rideshare platforms. Almost half, or 41%, indicated they use services provided by both STAR Transit and DART.“What we gathered from this survey is that transit riders want the service to bereliable, easy to use, safe and friendly,” Henricks said. “More than half of ourriders tell us they use our services five or more days a week.”
When asked where they traveled, respondents listed medical appointments, shopping,work, recreation/ entertainment, school, childcare, and church. They mostly rely onthe agency’s website for information about routes, schedules and trip planning. STARTransit’s call center, app and social media are also important.
The survey was online between June 4 and Aug. 9, and a paper version was made available to accommodate anyone without the ability to access the online version. Plans for in-person interviews on buses were discontinued due to safety precautions related to COVID-19. The survey was promoted on STAR Transit’s website, Facebook, Instagram,and other social media.
Founded in 1988, STAR Transit is the fourth largest transit agency in the North Central Texas region—and the largest not funded by sales tax.Revenues are derived from federal and state grants, as well as local partnershipswith cities, counties and businesses. STAR Transit provides transportation to the general public, seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities for access to jobs, healthcare, personal services, retail, and entertainment. More than 100 employees are responsible for providing more than 235,000 rides annually. The agency is headquartered in Terrell. For more information, visit STARtransit.org.