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A CARTA electric shuttle bus pulls out of Shuttle Park North onto Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga on Jan. 25, 2018. A recent downtown parking study suggests extending CARTA shuttle services to the Erlanger area and along Main Street.

As the city of Chattanooga continues to grow, the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority has started a year-long study to analyze and address issues with the city's existing bus service.

CARTA, along with the city, regional planning agency and other community partners, is seeking public input in the first phase of the study. The survey can be completed online at surveymonkey.com/r/CARTAredesign.

The study comes after a Transit Choices Report in December 2017 laid out the concerns of Chattanooga's existing fixed-bus routes and future opportunities for it. The report states bus service can be designed in two ways — to spread service to minimize the walk to the bus stop, which could increase wait times, or to concentrate service to high-ridership areas to minimize wait times.

Based on the responses of about 75 community stakeholders in Chattanooga at a transit workshop in November 2017, the report states 83 percent of attendees supported a shift to at least 60 percent ridership focus that would invest in the most productive transit markets and routes. The report states that nearly all of the participants, 96 percent, supported additional coverage in transit service throughout the city and more investment.

This isn't the only opportunity residents will have to voice their opinions, though.

CARTA will engage the public in April and May of next year to ask new questions and provide more information about what transit choices are possible. Officials said at that time multiple alternatives will be available and residents can review them and provide feedback.

The agency and city said they plan to present a set of draft recommendations to the public by fall 2019.

Contact staff writer Allison Shirk Collins at ashirk@timesfreepress.com, @Allison_Shirk or 423-757-6651.

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