What is the Reimagine Transit Initiative?
Reimagine Transit is an initiative that builds on the Connect LI regional transportation and development plan and the Suffolk County Mobility Study, to redesign Suffolk County’s fixed-route bus network and likely identify opportunities for the use of new tools, like on-demand transit services. The Reimagine Transit initiative is led by the Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning Department, in partnership with the Department of Public Works, supported by a consultant team led by Jarrett Walker + Associates that includes Public Works Partners LLC and Creighton Manning.
Why do we need this initiative?
Like many transit systems across the country, Suffolk County is facing unprecedented challenges such as declining ridership, escalating operating costs, a large and diverse service area and limited funding. The Reimagine Transit initiative will address these challenges and help the County better align its transit service with larger community goals and priorities.
What are the goals of this initiative?
This initiative aims to examine and redesign the entire network of routes to better align the County’s transit services with its larger goals and priorities, develop a resilient system that makes use of new transit service approaches and technologies, and ensure that the County is making the best use of its resources.
How is this different from the Suffolk County Mobility Study?
Reimagine Transit is a follow-up initiative to the Suffolk County Mobility Study, which evaluated the County’s transit challenges, including declining ridership, escalating operating costs, and a lack of diverse transit options. The Mobility Study identified the challenges, while this initiative will actually map alternatives for a new transit network and allow everyone to consider the key trade-offs involved in allocating service across the County.
How is this project related to the larger Connect LI initiative?
Connect Long Island, a major component of the Framework for the Future - Suffolk County Comprehensive Master Plan 2035, is Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s regional transportation and development plan to promote long-term economic progress in Suffolk County. This project supports the Connect LI initiative’s goal of building a modern transportation system that improves transportation options for residents, commuters and visitors.
How is this different from the Bus Rapid Transit projects?
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus-based public transport system designed to combine the capacity and speed of a train with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system. Based on a 2014 study, the County is studying BRT improvements on three corridors: Nicolls Road, Route 110, and Sagitkos Parkway. Any BRT improvements to these corridors will require longer-term funding to build special lanes or stations for the BRT services.
Reimagine Transit is about the entire transit network across the County and how it could be changed within the next year, including moving routes to different streets or changing some routes to on-demand services.
How can I share my thoughts and get involved?
The County will host virtual public events and launch a survey effort in 2021 to gather your input and understand how best to balance different transit priorities. Check the ‘How to get involved’ section regularly to learn about ongoing and planned engagement opportunities.
How will the county ensure that a diverse set of county residents provide input?
Input from the public is vital to this initiative. Through virtual community meetings and a public survey in 2021, the County plans to engage residents, transit riders, community organizations, the business community, and elected officials, among others, to inform the direction of the initiative.
How long will this initiative take?
This initiative began in September 2020 and will tentatively be completed in October 2021, taking 13 months to complete.
How is this initiative funded?
This initiative is funded through a New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Grant. NYMTC is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Long Island region and develops UPWPs to make use of federal funds for transportation planning.
How can the County afford to make changes to the transit system when the County is eliminating some bus routes due to budget cuts?
This initiative is funded through a New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Grant. It is not funded through the County's operating budget.
Is this initiative related to the potential bus cuts that were announced?
No. The potential bus cuts that were announced in late September 2020 were to offset the budgetary constraints due to lost bus fare revenue and state funding cuts amid the pandemic. This initiative, funded through a NYMTC UPWP Grant, builds on the Suffolk County Mobility Study completed in June 2018.
Will my bus route / access to transit be changed or eliminated as a result of this initiative?
This initiative will result in examining and redesigning of the fixed route network, to best balance the communities needs and priorities. All proposed changes will be based on analysis performed by national transit experts, and input received from the community and key stakeholders. All proposed changes will be shared with the public for their feedback before incorporation within the final plan.
What will happen after the initiative is over? How long before actual changes are made?
This initiative will result in an implementation and roll-out plan for the redesigned network. The plan will detail transition timelines for service and operational changes. The intention is to develop a plan that can be implemented within a year of the completion of the study.
Where can I find more information about Suffolk County buses or report a problem with the existing bus service?
Please visit the Suffolk County Transit webpage - www.sct-bus.org to find more information on Suffolk County Transit. For any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please call Suffolk County Transit Information Services at 631.852.5200, Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm or write to Suffolk County Transit, 335 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank, NY 11980.