StarTran riders wait in the elements, transfer hub could fix their waiting woes

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - At nearly any hour of the day, the corner at 11th and "N" is teeming with people. Hundreds of people wait outside the Gold's Building to catch their connecting StarTran bus. These riders sit out on benches in the sun, or rain, while waiting for their ride.

Many riders sit in the elements while they wait for their connecting buses.

Riders like Danny Brown take StarTran buses just about every day. He uses his bus pass as a ticket to everything. Brown is one of just the 2.5 million yearly riders across Lincoln. He said waiting conditions are less than ideal

"Sometimes the wait is long, other times it's short," said Brown. "You wouldn't want to imagine it on a winter's day, I'll tell you. And you have to wait all that time and then the shelter's they've got here now, there's no warmth in them."

Many riders said today wasn't that bad, temperature-wise. When fall turns to winter, that wait becomes a little more miserable.

"Cold. Very cold, I mean, uncomfortable, you know?" said Brown. "But like I said, the buses usually take a little bit longer in the winter. It's really kind of uncomfortable."

"We have nothing," said Rob Hamilton, another StarTran rider. "This is it right here. You have to go to SCC to go to the bathroom, you can't go here. You can go to the coffee shop, but you have to have a code number or buy a water just to get into the bathroom."

Some riders said their wait can take up to an hour after work. StarTran's transit manager Mike Davis said StarTran wants to fix their wait and provide amenities to make the wait a little easier.

"They know that that will fulfill that need of bathrooms and a safe and comfortable waiting area, and overall that just adds to that overall experience," said Davis.

StarTran will be starting a Feasibility Study in September to see if this is a possibility for the city. Davis said the hub could have heating and air and bathrooms. Brown was pretty excited.

"Oh, that would be awesome. I mean, it'd be great!"

StarTran said that the time to build a hub like this is now before downtown expands even more.

"If we don't take action now, some of those opportunities get lost in the future as the downtown builds out. some of those opportunities may not be present 10 years from now that are present right now," said Davis.

Davis said this could all be possible in 3 years.