Transit Group Seeks Input On Low-Income Needs

The nonprofit Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST) will host a meeting May 14, during which they will hear concerns from Lane County human services providers about the community’s public transit needs. Laurie Trieger on the BEST board of directors says she anticipates the conversation will be about transportation needs of low-income individuals.

“A lot of working poor folks don’t work a traditional Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. So they’re folks who are needing to get to a job at all different kinds of hours of the day and days of the week,” Trieger says, “which is really challenging with our current transit system that doesn’t always have public transportation available at those off-peak hours or on the weekend.”

City of Eugene grants manager in community development Stephanie Jennings will present the results of a focus group and survey of low-income housing residents at the meeting. She says low-income housing residents have higher rates of use of alternative transportation modes — walking, biking and public transit. She says they also have concerns about affording monthly bus passes, getting to a bus stop, and night, weekend and holiday service.

ShelterCare Executive Director Susan Ban says most of the people ShelterCare serves are heavily transit dependent, including individuals with disabilities.

“Having a good transit system is really part of their quality of life,” Ban says. “All the activities of daily living that engage them in the community usually require some kind of transportation.”

Ban says investing in public transit is as important as investment in other forms of transportation such as roads and bridges.

This meeting is part of a series of community conversations BEST is having with business groups, community organizations, people with environmental concerns, neighborhood organizations, schools and school district representatives. Trieger says Lane Transit District respects BEST and is interested in hearing what the organization learns during the series of conversations.

“We will be synthesizing everything that we hear and learn and reporting back to the community later in June to put together what BEST understands might be the next steps with the themes that emerge from these conversations,” Trieger says.

The meeting will be from 10 to 11:30 am Wednesday, May 14 in the Bascom-Tykeson room of the Eugene Public Library.