The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA)
will accept public feedback until April 2 on its plan to restore services
that were suspended due to COVID-19.
AAATA will hold a series of six virtual public engagement meetings on the plan starting in late March. A final service recovery plan will be presented to the public at the end of August.
AAATA reduced service last year at the onset of the pandemic. AAATA spokesperson Chris Simmons says the transit authority is looking forward to implementing a full recovery of services.
"We're moving forward according to what we understand as community plans for reopening, as well as vaccination timelines," he says. "What we see is that the community is going to be fully reopened by the time university students come back in August. We want to make sure that we're in the best place that we can be to support that reopening as it's happening."
Simmons adds that people attending the Zoom meetings can expect to get a full and transparent overview of AAATA's proposal. He stresses that AAATA is being very intentional in saying the proposal is "only a plan," with room to be improved upon depending on the feedback.
"We're interested in discovering what the proposal improves for people, as well as hearing about the things that we may not have accounted for or perhaps missed in our analysis," Simmons says.
He also underscores that the upcoming meetings are not about long-term planning, but about current public transit riders' needs.
"The meetings are for people concerned about what they're going to do tomorrow if they have to go back to work, or if they have to go back to shopping and don't want to drive, for example," Simmons says. "We'll be talking about present needs and what each of our routes and services that we provide will be doing."
Residents can visit AAATA's website for more information on how to submit comments and feedback on the proposal.
"We want to know from people how we can adjust, how we can provide the services that the community needs and, frankly, how can we help the community recover in a way that is faster and sustainable," Simmons says.
For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of AAATA.