Connect Transit | WGLT

Connect Transit

Rodney Davis speaks at podium
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal’s transit system will receive a $6 million federal grant to buy electric buses and support construction of a new downtown transfer center, officials announced Thursday.

Connect Transit Board of Trustees
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal’s public transportation service plans to extend its more popular bus routes later at night to improve access in a move that officials say won’t cost the service any additional money.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A potential Connect Transit transfer center in Downtown Bloomington is still on the table.

Passengers board a bus in Uptown Normal's transfer center.
Connect Transit

The Illinois Department of Transportation is giving Bloomington-Normal's bus system $250,000.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Some members of the Connect Transit board are taking their chair to task for pushing a meeting with the Bloomington City Council that backfired and potentially damaged the case for a bus transfer station in downtown Bloomington.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Three government bodies met jointly Tuesday night to nudge forward an ambitious plan to build a new library and transit center in downtown Bloomington, even as several officials noted a lack of public buy-in as one major hurdle to the effort.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said Tuesday he’s put a controversial joint meeting back on the calendar for next week, rejecting a push by some aldermen to forgo a deeper discussion on a proposed downtown library-transit project.

Cindy Le / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council will talk about the controversial downtown catalyst project with the Bloomington Public Library and Connect Transit boards next month.

Staff / WGLT

Local transit officials say route changes, new shelters, and even an app are all helping drive a significant increase in ridership this year on Bloomington-Normal’s bus system.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

It's official: Bloomington-Normal's Connect Transit has hired a general manager.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Connect Transit plans to hire its interim general manager as its next general manager.

Rodney Davis speaks at podium
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Connect Transit will receive a $1.5 million federal grant to buy zero-emission battery electric buses and install solar panels at its maintenance facility.

Baylee Steelman/WGLT

Here are the top stories we covered this week (Sept. 4-8, 2017) on WGLT and WGLT.org.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Looking for a big “catalyst” project to lure more people to downtown Bloomington, members of a city task force expressed support Tuesday for a plan to knock down an old parking garage and build a new library and public transit transfer center in its place.

Staff / WGLT

Waiting at a bus stop in the near future could be easier with the addition of new bus shelters in Bloomington-Normal.

Connect Transit made progress at Tuesday’s meeting with the plan to build 10 new shelters this fall. Community engagement sessions highlighted the public desire for shelters, benches, and additional sidewalk at bus stops in the area.

Connect Transit chose locations based on the number of riders at each bus stop location.

Staff / WGLT

A Connect Transit cut in services to some people with disabilities is getting some pushback.

Connect Transit recently eliminated tripper service to some edge-of-town housing. This had the effect of reducing the area the government mandates the system serve with Connect Mobility, a service for those with physical access challenges.

Staff / WGLT

Connect Transit will host community education sessions in the coming weeks before several cost-cutting route changes and a new Connect Mobile premium service go into effect.

Connect Transit

Connect Transit expects up to a 7 percent increase in use of its Connect Mobility service next month. That's because the YWCA is shutting down its Medivan program.

The YWCA made that choice because state funding was unreliable and the program was on pace to operate at a $120,000 per year deficit.

Connect Transit

Connect Transit in Bloomington Normal is facing a problem, an aging fleet of busses and capital money tied up in operations because the state isn't paying its share. Isaac Thorne is the Interim General Manager for the bus system.

"The majority of our busses are 2004, 2005 busses. And we have eight 1998s. We hope we can replace six in 2018 which would bring us down to needing seventeen," said Thorne.

Staff / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board has completed the hire of an Interim Director.

Former Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for Andrew Johnson until a permanent replacement can be chosen.

Passengers board a bus in Uptown Normal's transfer center.
Connect Transit

Bloomington-Normal's bus system has named an interim General Manager by promoting from within.

Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for General Manager Andrew Johnson. Johnson is leaving for a new job with the bus system in Champaign-Urbana.

Connect Transit General Manager Accepts New Position

Feb 24, 2017
Staff / WGLT

Connect Transit's general manager is resigning after six years with the transit system. 

During Andrew Johnson's tenure, he led this system through rebranding efforts and comprehensive route restructuring, implemented in August of last year. 

Staff / WGLT

Illinois Wesleyan University students are now able to ride Connect Transit buses free.

The Student Senate and Connect Transit have a pilot program offering universal access, much as ISU students have.

Connect Transit Buses Rolling Into 2017

Dec 1, 2016
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal's transit system is avoiding a planned shutdown at the end of the month.

Staff / WGLT

The Bloomington City Council is on record in support of continued state funding for Connect Transit. The Twin Cities' bus system faces a shutdown in January unless the Illinois Comptroller transfers funds appropriated earlier this year by the state legislature.

The $5 million owed to Connect Transit is part of a larger funding package for several downstate transit systems. Connect Transit's General Manager Andrew Johnson, who is President of the Illinois Public Transportation Association, spoke to council members about the state's legal authority to provide funding.

Central Illinois Regional Airport
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

The Central Illinois Regional Airport terminal has reopened after several hours.

The Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad determined a suspicious piece of carry on luggage was harmless.

Staff / WGLT

All 150 employees at Connect Transit received layoff notices Monday in accordance with a federal law requiring public agencies to alert staff of a possible looming work stoppage.

General Manager Andrew Johnson said he remains hopeful state funds will be transferred to the agency in December, averting the need to keep the buses garaged. He said, in a worse case scenario, a handful of employees will keep working.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Some members of the community expressed concern about the future of Connect Transit services due to the lack of state funding for public transportation. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson told those gathered for a meeting Thursday there have been no transfers from the state's general revenue fund into the transportation fund since June. 

Johnson said the system can still provide 25 percent of their services without state funding. Elizabeth Griuber said she would like to see those services go toward the handicapped or residents with low income. 

Staff

One central Illinois state representative says he's confident Connect Transit will receive state funding appropriated to the bus system in time to avoid a shutdown of the bus fleet in January.

Republican Dan Brady of Bloomington spoke following a meeting this morning with Heartland Community College President Rob Widmer. Brady says he's puzzled as to why the $5 million appropriation hasn't been sent to Connect Transit.

Staff / WGLT

Buses may run on diesel fuel, but it takes money to fill the tank. Late cash transfers from the State of Illinois could mean Connect Transit will have to park its buses and suspend service at the end of the year.

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