Tuesday, May 17, 2011

News-Press: Bus routes fail workers in Lee County

Written by
Brian Liberatore

Lee County’s buses give people about 1.5
million rides to and from work every year.
But according to a new national report, Lee
is near the bottom when it comes to getting
riders to their jobs.

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan
area ranked 67th on a list of 100 areas in
a study from Washington-based Brookings
Institute. The study looked at mass transit
systems and their ability to connect riders
to employment. Collier County was not
included in the study.

None of the eight Florida locations on the
list did well. The best Florida area for
transit was Sarasota, which ranked 57th.

Part of the challenge is funding, said
commissioner Ray Judah. And part of it,
said LeeTran spokeswoman Joanne Haley,
is Florida’s development: commercial
centers and housing spread across
hundreds of square miles.

“When we plan the routes, we make sure
that we serve major employment centers,”
Haley said, “which is challenging in Lee
County because they’re so spread out.”

The limited transportation, the study
suggests, limits people’s employment

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