Print Evolution of transit in area is shifting in right direction
Written by Trista Steers MacVittie   
Monday, 13 February 2012 00:00

The Verde Valley’s transportation endeavours took a positive turn in January when talk about transit circulated around the Verde Lynx.

It took a few years to figure out how to make public transportation in a rural area work, but now we are on track to providing a valuable service.

With the help of the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Transportation Authority, public transportation for Cottonwood area residents expanded to include service between communities for work, school, doctor appointments and shopping among other activities.

However, the evolution of Sedona and Verde Valley transit didn’t occur without growing pains.

Sedona City Council spent countless hours talking, arguing and compromising over the RoadRunner, a Sedona-specific shopping circulator, before it finally decided it did not meet the city’s transit goals.

Cottonwood Area Transit routes were changed and some service cut back.

Now, thanks to the Cottonwood City Council, we have local control of transit. Lynx started out under NAIPTA and shifted to Cottonwood control.

Support for the Lynx also comes easier for Sedona because the city of Cottonwood stepped up to take on management.

NAIPTA started the program with support from both communities, but now Cottonwood is ready to take over the service.

The Lynx would not exist without NAIPTA’s experience and expertise from working with the Mountain Line in Flagstaff, but now it is time for local control.

With the program off the ground and running, a local municipality will be better able to recognize needs and quickly make adjustments to meet ridership demands.

From here, I hope to see the service grow.

Ideally, the Lynx will eventually service the Village of Oak Creek, Cornville, Camp Verde and maybe someday the rural areas along Interstate 17.

For this to happen, other local organizations need to get involved.

The Yavapai-Apache Nation recently announced it received a grant to provide transportation between its two reservations in Camp Verde and Clarkdale. A tribe spokeswoman said the service will be open to anyone looking to make the trip across the valley.

Is this a partnership opportunity to expand the Lynx?

Possibilities for the Lynx are endless and the more people it serves the happier Verde Valley residents will be to support the service.

However, we can’t rely solely on Cottonwood and Sedona to make it happen. All of the local governing bodies need to do their parts.