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’s Board of Trustees approved the changes at its meeting this week, following more than a dozen community feedback sessions with riders around Bloomington-Normal. The route changes are expected to save around $725,000 annually, enough to help pay for 23 new buses over the next five years, Connect Transit officials said in a statement Friday.
“The route changes that are being implemented should improve connectivity and travel time for customers. Unfortunately, a few route changes were made due to budget restraints, Connect tried to inconvenience as few customers as possible with these changes. I hope that more members of the community use Connect Transit,” Interim General Manager Isaac Thorne said in a statement.
The route changes include:
- The Teal route will be eliminated Sept. 17. That route runs near Eastland Mall, Westminster Village, and State Farm Corporate South and Headquarters.
- The west Bloomington portion of the Purple route will be renamed the Silver route, serving the west-side Walmart, Alexander Estates, and downtown. The remaining Purple route will be changed to go to downtown, Eastland Mall, and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. Changes go into effect Sept. 17.
- The Normal Tripper and Bloomington Tripper would both be eliminated, effective Aug. 25.
Also approved this week was the new Connect Mobility premium service, tied to the elimination of the Bloomington and Normal Trippers.
Connect Transit is legally obligated to provide basic paratransit service within three-quarters of a mile of fixed route service. The new premium service would expand Connect Mobility’s service area beyond that geographic limit. The premium service’s tiered price structure would begin on Aug. 6:
- $2 within three-quarters of a mile of a fixed route
- $3 between three-quarters of a mile and 1 mile of a fixed route
- $4 between 1 mile and 1.25 miles of a fixed route
Connect Transit staff members will begin holding community education sessions next week through September to help educate riders on the route changes.
Editor’s note: GLT’s program director, Mike McCurdy, is on the Connect Transit Board of Trustees.
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