"It's nice that I can be independent," one rider said.
About 60 Metro Mobility riders and a few advocates gathered at the Wilder Foundation in Saint Paul on April 17 to provide feedback on Metro Mobility service and a proposal to increase transit fares.
The meeting started with a brief presentation about the proposed fare increase by Nick Thompson, Director of Metropolitan Transportation Services. He followed his remarks by moving from table to table to personally answer questions from customers who were deeply engaged in lively discussions about transit fares and their recommendations to improve service.
Participants joined a facilitator and note-taker at tables that seated 5 to 10 people. Using a roundtable approach, participants were asked to provide feedback.
Surprisingly, the proposed fare increase did not dominate the conversations. While many customers agreed that a fare increase would negatively affect people who are have limited incomes, they also emphasized that they value accessible transit and were strongly opposed to services cuts.
“It’s nice that I can be independent,” one rider said.
Recommendations to improve service
Participants said they appreciated Metro Mobility but would like to see some enhancements like online scheduling with an app that shows the ride coming on a live map. Several participants offered comments on possible system improvements, such as routes and an expanded mileage range.
After the discussions, note-takers wrote key highlights from the discussions and posted them on a wall for all to see.
Metro Mobility staff plan to take the participant feedback to inform future service plans.
Several participants applauded the small-table format. Everyone had a chance to provide their perspectives on a service that is a “lifeline” to them.
Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) members Patty Thorsen and Ken Rodgers provided assistance with the implementation of the event and actively participated in the dialogue.
Metro Mobility staff and representatives from some transportation vendors also were present at most of the tables. They had the opportunity to connect first hand with our valued Metro Mobility customers.