Published on May 27th, 2015 |1
Buc shuttle service, routes to get major review as CID cost rises
The board of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (BCID), the organization that has largely funded the Buc Shuttle for years, decided Tuesday to have its executive director head up a major review of the service and its costs and recommend a plan for going forward.
In years past, the system was heavily supported by federal transportation funds. But those funds have dried up, with the last payment to the Buc Shuttle coming last year at only $35,000.
Meanwhile, the cost to the CID to operate the shuttle has averaged right at about $650,000 for the past couple of years—a hefty cost for about 400 daily riders.
CID Executive Director Jim Durrett said the CID has been funding each rider to the tune of about $3,250 per year. “Is there another way to fund it,” he asked the board members.
“We have been making investments to increase walkability in Buckhead,” Durrett said. “We have the 110 MARTA bus on 15 minute intervals along Peachtree Road,” he explained. “We have increased walkability in many ways.”
One suggestion was to create a tighter loop to serve the people along Piedmont Road, such the office workers at Piedmont Center, and limit the system to two shuttle buses. That could reduce the cost to the CID to $300,000 per year.
It also was suggested that the multi-family housing development owners be engaged to support the Buc Shuttle program. The Development Review Committees for SPI-9 and SPI-12 have been urging that with each new development that comes before them.
Robin Loudermilk suggested “what people are asking for today is completely different than it was 15 years ago,” when the Buc Shuttle service was first conceived.
Another person attending the meeting suggested the thing that is missing is the tie to the Village area of Buckhead from the central business district.
CID Vice Chairman John Lundeen said, “We have tried this now for 15 years. Nobody is going to sit on a bus for 20 minutes and be able to eat (at Lenox Square) and get back to work in time.”
One suggestion was that the CID explore the use of small bicycle-type two-person vehicles that can ride in bike lanes—such as the ones Simon Properties used during the holidays to cart shoppers back and forth between Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.
It was pointed out that Dallas uses golf cart type vehicles that can carry six riders at a time.
Lundeen urged the group to think out of the box and not just center on the Buc type shuttle.
The CID board authorized Durrett to work with Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling, who has been in charge of the Buc Shuttle for years, and come up with the next phase for the shuttle service.