ORT Chief Getting Up To Speed

by Paul Gatling  on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 9:35 am  


NWABJ: To follow up on that point, how challenging is it to run a bus system in an area where parking in most of the region’s downtowns isn’t very expensive, and where people are reluctant to give up driving in favor of riding? How do you get past that?

JG: By providing a quality system that shows on-time results. One of the best examples I can give. If we look at a downtown structure, there is going to be a demand for parking. Spaces are a premium. As a businessperson, if I have to go more than walking distance to my location to do business, do lunch, whatever, I would like to have a system where I can get on public transportation, get there, do what I need to do, and get back on time.

When I look at some larger cities that are served with public transit, and this is a large community, I actually look at the riders and I see workers, and I do sometimes see homeless, and I see the elderly, and I do see the disabled. I see everybody utilizing it.


NWABJ: How much have you heard or been told about the quarter-cent sales tax that failed in May? What can you do to find additional funding?

JG: I’ve heard all kinds of different stories about the quarter-cent sales tax. I still believe that we need to clean up our own backyard before we start going somewhere else. We need to utilize the funds we currently have to the best of their ability before we start asking for anything else. That will be something that, if we need to start asking for more money in the future, then we’ll do it in a proper way. That’s the best I can say about that. Not saying that it was previously done improperly, but I think we need to make sure we clean up everything of our own. If we treat this as a business that will spend every dollar as wisely as possible, then we will scratch and claw for every dollar coming in.


NWABJ: What collaboration do you want to see occur between ORT and Razorback Transit?

JG: Every bit that we possibly can. We are already working together. One of the biggest things we need to look at is where we are duplicating service. If Razorback is heading down a street and I’m sending a bus down the same street, anybody looking at it can say that is a waste of money. [Razorback Transit logistics manager] Adam Waddell and I have already sat down and started talking about where we can be more efficient. It’s not a territorial thing. It’s working together to provide the highest quality of service to the community. If I am chasing one of his buses or he’s chasing one of my buses down the street, we’re wasting money.


NWABJ: What is your approach going to be for ORT to provide transportation services to the business community? Does this area need that?



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