By Andrew Brieschke, Deputy CEO
Imagine a world where everywhere you need or want to get to is only one seat away. In the tri-county region, that world is about to become a reality.
In recent weeks, CATA has been working on preliminary coordination plans with both EATRAN and Clinton Area Transit System. The three agencies have collaborated to provide cross-boundary trips under interlocal agreements. All three systems are now preparing to better meet the needs of their respective riders.
The goal is to break down barriers that historically made cross-county public transportation time-consuming and inconvenient for riders.
"The concept of a ‘one-seat ride’ will dramatically improve service efficiencies for us and convenience for our riders," said CATA Chief Executive Officer Bradley T. Funkhouser.
At its core, regional mobility is defined as the provision of seamless transit options for residents, regardless of economic or geographic boundaries. By using a multitude of services and resources, riders have more access to desired destinations, shorter trips and wait times, and fewer transfers to connecting buses or service types. For many who rely on public transit, these options can cut trip times in half and provide cost savings.
But the benefits of a regional mobility plan for the tri-county area don’t end with public transportation. Now, CATA and its partners are a driving force for people to choose where they want to live, work and play.
A full regional mobility plan takes riders to workplaces, medical care and appointments, school, shopping, recreational and community activities. This means employers can fill open positions, family members can receive lifesaving health care and friends can visit one another.
Still, while progress toward regional mobility has been made in recent decades, much work remains. Extended routes, additional service options and expanded schedules require investment. Local and state officials recognize that Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties are actively working with CATA to fill funding gaps to bring regional mobility to fruition.
Current and future businesses and residential developments are cropping up across the tri-county area, including General Motors’ battery plant and industrial parks in Delta Township.
"I’m proud of what CATA has been able to do to expand services across our region so far, and I’ve seen firsthand just how devastating it can be to our riders to not have access to transportation to get to work or medical appointments. Regional mobility supports everyone — riders, employers, businesses and families. I look forward to seeing where we can take our community with the support of our leaders and partners," Funkhouser added.
This content has been published in the 2022 Community Report.
Press Release: Tri-County public transit agencies launch unprecedented partnership to enhance regional mobility
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