MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Years ago, CATA was voted best transit system by the American Public Transportation Association.
But it has so many facets that some residents are not familiar with them all.
"Its important that we educate all of our members about how these services work. Many people in the community don't understand the difference between Redi Ride, Spec Tran, or CATA Fixed Route," said Karla Hudson, Member of the Meridian Township Transportation Commission.
Redi Ride works somewhat like a taxi service for the residents of the Township.
"Redi ride is a door to door, curb to curb service that we offer here in Meridian township," said Dan Opsommer. Township Trustee and CATA Board member. "Its supported by a Meridian Township operating mileage."
Hudson added, "And its designed for anyone in the township. You don’t just have to have a disability to use the services."
Redi Ride is a same day service that can schedule trips at least four hours in advance. However, the service is so frequently used, that a four hour request may not guarantee you a ride.
"I’ve never experienced the ability, well if I have its been very rare to get a ride the same day. I have to schedule my rides days in advance, And that probably proves as a good thing that its a very popular service," said Hudson.
While Redi Ride has been in the township for 15 years, the Bus Rapid Transit project is a new proposal by CATA.
"The BRT is a proposed project that would be more of a regional connector so it would go from the meridian mall to the capital and it would replace the existing route one," Opsommer said.
CATA is now waiting on federal funding for the project,
"They’re going through their environmental assessment process as well with the state and federal government and then obviously the funding side so its kind of a wait and see kind of thing at this time," Opsommer added.
However, there are some residents who are not happy with the current BRT plan. There is even a group that started named "Stop The BRT."
"Its been very controversial in the area. The point of the BRT is to reduce travel time. But in order to run the BRT they would have to take away bus stops. They plan to take away stops such as Frandor, Meridian Mall, and Meijer. Of course you can get some where faster if you reduce the amount of stops," said Hudson.
Hudson added that the plan is not considerate of people with disabilities. "Reducing the stops will create longer distances to walk and that makes it harder for people to travel, especially people with disabilities."
There is no finalized plan for the BRT yet,
"There will be additional public forums and opportunities for the communities to weigh in and data will continue to revise the plans and we’ll see what comes out of that," Opsommer said.