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Lewes, Delaware
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April 25, 1997     Cape Gazette
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April 25, 1997
 

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16 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Apt-If 25- May I, 199"/ State unveils new campaign to hike resort bus ridhip By Tflh Vemoa John Gobis of lllium Associ- ates, DART Fwst State's market- ing finn;unveiled extensive ne w marketing plans for the resort transit service during a meeting of the Resort Transit Advisory Com- mittee in Ala'il 22. "The main ob jective is to build ridership," Gob- is explained, hoping for a I0 per- cent increase in 1997. With the help of a yet-to-be- named  and slogans such as "Wave Away Traffic" and "Ride Instead of Drive," Illium hopes to achieve that goal. Gobis's firm has identified three areas where shortcomings were identified through a survey of last year's operation. They are bus stops and signage; service coordi- nation with the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and park and ride; and the sale of transit tickets through a re- tail sales network. He also told them that a more aggressive mar- keting campaign is in the works for this season, more closely asso- ciated with the resort are& All bus routes and official bus stops along these mutes will be re- Transit Continued from page 1 Dewey Mayor Bob Frederick later termed this decision "dis- turbing. Such a route would seem to promote the health and safety of the community by preventing drunk driving." He said be is also insulted by a comment found in the minutes from the March 18 meeting by City Manager Greg Ferrese that "Rehoboth doesn't want to become another Dewey Beach," whenFerrese told Oeier they didn't want the direct route which would bring the bar crowd into the city. "We expected support from Re- hohoth and Lewes, as we've sup- ported Ferrese's position on buses idling at the Boardwalk and Mike Tyler's [Lewes representative] re- quest for bike routes. We won't tolerate continuing to be pigeon- holed only as a bar and drinking community- we've spent the past six years trying to balance this town and I find this very insulting. The citizens of Dewey Beach are owed more than that!" "It's a reality that people in Re- hoboth go to Dewey to drink, but they want to be responsible. Now their only alternative is the trol- ley," which makes two stops in the residential area of Dewey, a source of some noise complaints in the past. The route Frederick proposed, on the other hand, would enter Rehoboth via Church Street and up Rehoboth Avenue, rather than through residential neighborhoods. Frederick went on to note that with the new lighting on Route 1 between Rehoboth and Dewey, it will become a more popular route for those walking "and God forbid if they get hit," because there was no bus going directly to the city .signed and new stops created at major retail locations and hotels. A large banner will be placed at the park and ride lot with the logo and phone number for accessing information on routes and fares and the phone number will also be placed on the buses. The phone will be manned in Dover by per- sonnel from the DRT office and after hours they will get a record- ing giving a local number and in- formation. Eye level display cases with maps of the route and the fare structure will be placed in various high traffic areas as well. In coordinating more closely with the ferry service, they plan to train ferry bus service drivers about DART services and attempt to eliminate any duplication of services. Reciprocity between the two services in ticketing arrange- ments and routing all buses through the park and ride lot should boost customer confidence that they can reach any destination in the area through this central meeting place. Gobis said Illium is in the which someone drinking and dri- ving otherwise would have taken. Frederick said they are looking into the legalities of the Jolly Trolley making stops in Dewey and hopes the owners, David and Christine Hastings, volunteer to stop drop-offs late at night. And while he feels that DRT is ignor- ing mass transit needs in the area, David Hastings said that direct route didn't make sense in that there isn't the need for the addi- tional service, noting he is willing to work with Dewey officials. In response, Rehoboth Mayor Sam Cooper said that while he and Frederick have always com- municated well, "I was a little dis- appointed they didn't sit down and discuss this new route before proposing it to the state. Not want- ed Rehoboth's position to be per- ceived as pro drinking and dri- ving, Cooper said that there are laws to be obeyed concerning this practice and that the new route they requested didn't really seem to address the real issues. Fare increases explained Despite complaints about the increase in fares this summer, DRT is sticking to its guns, charg- ing $5 per carto use the park and ride lot, an increase of $1; $4 ad- ditional for each space an over- sized vehicle uses in the lot; $1 per ride rather than $1 per day, and $2.50 for an all-day pass, an increase of $1.50. This summer they will also institute a seasonal nontransferable parking and bus pass at $99. Any discounts for resort mer- chants' employees are still up in the air, the committee was told of requests that they be given a $2 per day rate, at least during week- day days when the lot is underuti- lized. (Rehoboth officials have expressed their willingness to sub- sidize the park and ride for in- process of establishing a retail sales network that will distribute fare and route information and sell. day and weekly passes. Kits have. been developed so that the infor- mation can be prominently dis- played. Real estate agents will be asked, to attend preseason information sessions in an effort to educate, them about the transit service and. request their assistance in market- ing it to their clients. The multimedia campaign will encompass newspapers, direct: mail, radio, pesters and exterior' bs signs and joint promotions are in the works with amusement at- tractions and other resort busi- nesses. Local civic and communi- ty organizations would also be supplied with marketing materials to distribute to their members. "We've learned from last year and hope to benefit and do things differently," Derrick Lightfoot, assistant director of state-wide support services for DART, told committee members. "We need to develop an ongoing partnership, working hand-in-hand so that II town merchant employees if the rate is low enough.) "It's still an ongoing discussion with the parking authority," said Derrick Lightfoot, DRT assistant director of state-wide support ser- vices. He said such a proposal needs to be packaged in such a way that it will meet with their ap- proval, because "it will fail if we try it by itself." Ferrese asked that a decision be made very soon, as the season is about to begin and merchants are making inquiries. Tyler asked Lightfoot if they can expect the rates to climb every year, and the philosophy behind the increases. Lighffoot replied that it's an is- sue of "parity" with mass transit fares in other areas of the state and that it is "mandated that we derive a certain amount of income through fares. Also, the service has been undervalued. There's been no increase for a number of years - but we don't see an auto- matic increase happening every year." Fenwick route gone Lastly, while a number of com- mittee members opposed DRT's plan to eliminate the Dewey to Fenwick route initiated last sum- mer due to lack of ridership, the bus will go no further south than Dewey Beach this summer. Geier did note, however, that they hope to come up with a better plan for servicing that area to the south next year. Ferrese reiterated Rehoboth's displeasure with operating 40-foot buses in town to Geier and Light- foot, noting they were promised that when the state purchased new buses they would get open trolleys like those operated from the ferry. Lightfoot told him these are the buses they have available (the 30- foot buses will be used on the less traveled routes) and that it takes John Gobts of lllium Ammelates unveils the new porpoise t" that will appear on an mm'keting campaign litera- ture and signs this mmamer for the resort transit system. At the suggestion of Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Frederick, Delaware Resort Transit will conduct a contest for resort nehoolehildren, mtktng them to come up with a name for this "friendly fish." everyone benefits from decreased hoboth Beach-Dewey Beach congestion, not a decrease in peo- Chamber of Commerce at noon, pie." Wednesday, May 7 at Dogfish Gobis will be the guest speaker Head Brewing and Eats on Re- at the next meeting of the Re- hoboth Avenue. two years from the time the buses provements. are ordered, money in hand, until Lightfoot said they will be sure they are delivered, to .meet again mid-stmuner to as- He advised that they hold anoth- sess the 1997 operation and do er meeting (one has now been set any "course correction" deemed for 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 20) necessary. Thanking them all for to get input from the committee as their input, he said that while they are now in the process of de.- every idea may not work this year, veloping the service plan for fiscal "it doesn't mean it's not a good year 1999, which would also en- idea," that can be implemented tail the purchase of "appropriate" later or in conjunction with some- vehicles and other capital im- thing else. system through media advertis- JU JEk.l.l[ADart3r ing. Except for times when events are being held at the Bandstand, all buses except tour buses will be Continued from page 1 allowed to drop off and pick up them. "We haven't received near- ly as many complaints as last passengers at the usual place - year," Johnson reported, along the Boardwalk at Rehoboth Avenue. There have been a hum- The permits will go on sale at city hall on Monday, April 28, at a ber of discussions about requiring buses to use the area behind the cost of $50 for seasonal non-trans- Bandstand in the vicinity of the ferable and $75 for seasonal trans- ferable. As the season gets under- fountains for loading and unload- way Memorial Day Weekend, the ing, as they have received a num- city will set up its satellite sales ber of complaints concerning the stations on Rehoboth Avenue and noise and smell emanating from Bayard Avenue, with merchants these mass transit vehicles. Corn- and real estate offices also being mittee member Sheridan Besosa recommended that they allow all asked to sell permits. This year buses except the state-operated the weeklyrate is $20; three day DART resort transit buses to use weekend, $12; Saturday or Sun- the Boardwalk, and have DART daY, .$8, and Monday through Fri- use the area west of the Band- day, $2. In an effort to avoid con- fusion on the part of i visitors, stand. That way, they wouldn't the city is in the process of creat- have to change the present traffic ing a color-coded map, which will pattern, which would be necessary to accommodate all of the buses if identify areas where permits are needed to park on the streets and that were the only loading zone. where the 25-cent, 50-cent and But fellow committee member Don Derrickson advised that "as 75-cent parking meters are locat- much as I'd love to recommend ed, as weft as the parking permit rate stracmre. These will be hand- we do something about the noise ed out to motorists inquiring about and smell, our own police chief parking. City Manager Greg Fer- said that it was too dangerous to rese Urged any merchant, within pick up and drop off people by the fountains and that's enough for the city limits or outside, to con- me." He did agree, however, that tact him if they are willing to sell  tour buses shouldn't be using the permits this summer. Boardwalk, where they often sit They also discussed how to put for half an hour at a time with a "positive spin" in educating the public about the parking permit their engines idling.