Residents interested in finding out what proposed recommendations have been formulated for changes to the Joplin transit service can review them and comment on them on Wednesday.
An open house where residents can learn the content of the draft recommendations and prioritize or comment on them will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Joplin Public Library's west side conference room, 1901 E. 20th St.
In addition, representatives of the consulting firms hired to do the transit study and some city staff members on Wednesday will ride the Sunshine Lamp Trolleys and the Metro Area Public Transit System buses, and will brief passengers on the study's recommendations and ask for their input.
The two transportation consulting firms hired by the city to do the study are Trans Systems and Viero Consultants.
After the input is gathered, the consultants will use it along with their assessment of the systems to develop a set of final recommendations for short-, medium- and long-term improvements. Those recommendations will include the estimated costs of proposed changes and what financial resources are available to pay for them.
The final study will be ready by the end of 2019, according to the city.
Providing longer hours of service to more outlying areas of the city, such as the industrial parks, was among the ideas that drew support in May from riders, employers, nonprofit organizations and others who participated in public forums held at the library.
That followed an initial round of feedback gathered in March from 17 focus groups representing different sectors of Joplin. Those groups asked for a wider service area, routes to jobs in the industrial parks and other shopping areas such as north Joplin and Webb City, as well as added service hours.
There also has been discussion of reforming the system to provide quicker trips instead of the hourlong loops the three trolley routes make now. That would involve creating a trolley hub and spoke system. A trolley station would be the hub and buses would take passengers to specific destinations that radiate from the hub.
The city is conducting the transit service analysis to ensure that the system provides efficient service and meets the needs of the community, city officials have said.
The Metro Area Public Transit System, or MAPS, works with the trolley system, providing curb-to-curb bus service on a pre-scheduled basis to area residents.