JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro JETS public transportation service is addressing a lawsuit that alleged JETS bus stops in Jonesboro were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
According to the January meeting minutes of the Community Advisory Board, JETS is developing a plan to construct the required facilities.
In October 2015, the Jonesboro City Council agreed to settle a lawsuit with Jimmy Ashley.
Ashley claimed the bus stops the city purchased for the JETS routes were not ADA complaint.
In January's advisory board meeting, JETS officials said the city's engineering department has nearly completed a survey of the bus stops.
"We will actually evaluate each stop according to ADA standards and determine exactly how feasible it is to make that stop ADA compliant," Transit Director Steve Ewart said.
In order for JETS to use federal funds, the city must work to "determine where the public right of way is on all stops."
According to the meeting minutes, any stop that cannot be moved to become ADA compliant must be properly documented or removed from the routes in order for the city to qualify for federal funds.
In a separate issue, JETS is adjusting its routes due to an increase in people using the service.
"There are a lot of moving parts to serving a public transit system, but everyday we serve about 500 people through here," Ewart.
There has been a 19 percent increase in riders from January 2015 to January 2016.
Ewart said some of the increase could be due to the new central hub constructed at the corner of Caraway and Matthews.
"We began to see shortly after we opened and began to use this facility we had some challenges with those two routes and we considered all the way through November and December what we were going to do," Ewart said.
Because of the ridership increase, JETS is adjusting Route 43 and Route 53.
"What we have tried to do is make our system even more functional for our riders," Ewart said.
According to the meeting minutes, Route 43 runs consistently behind schedule.
JETS officials are making the following adjustments to bring the route back on time:
- Discontinue “will-call” stop at Crowley’s Ridge Development Council
- Service to continue stop at Fox Meadow Lane and Caraway Road
- Add stop to Grant Street at Walmart on Highland Drive
- Discontinue service to stop at Browns Lane and Race Street
- Add stop to Highland Drive, between Kmart and Western Sizzlin’
JETS estimates the changes will increase Route 43's run time by 5 minutes.
The following are changes to Route 53:
- Suspend service at Fairbridge Inn and Suites
- Change service to the NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital’s Fowler Cancer Center to “will-call”
- Add stop at the corner of King Street and Stone Street
- Reactivate stop on Caraway Road near Payless Shoes
- Suspend service to stops at the Alpha Gamma Rho house on East Aggie Road and at the intersection of Aggie Road and Airport Road due to construction in the area
JETS estimates those changes will change Route 53 into two, 30-minute routes.
Ewart said the transit system continues to grow and they hope to add more routes in the future.
"We would really love to add a couple more routes. The demand is there it is just finding the funding," Ewart said. "We would like to go an hour or so later in the evening. We would like to have a Saturday route."
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