Twin Cities Bus Riders Unhappy With Proposal | WGLT

Twin Cities Bus Riders Unhappy With Proposal

May 2, 2016

Twin Cities residents attend a public hearing held by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees.
Credit Michael Hill / WGLT

Opponents and a few supporters filled the Normal council chambers to express their opinions of a proposal that would change Connect Transit routes and schedules. Those who attended the hearing had mostly negative things to say about the plan.

One of the commenters, Dee Thompson, said she doesn't think Connect Transit is providing public transportation.

"It seems like you're ignoring the public."

Thompson received applause after her statement from bus riders and other members of the public who came to express their opinions on the proposed changes.

Some of the complaints included areas cut off by new routes and having to transfer more often as well as the removal of late night service, sometimes used by customers with disabilities. However, Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson says Connect Mobility will continue to serve disabled customers during those hours.

“The late night service was primarily used by disabled riders, and we are still providing disabled rider service at those times. So, really, there is no discontinuation of service for the people who are using that service.”

ATU Local 752 President Jim Riordan, who represents the transit system's drivers, says the plan looks like a reduction in service.

“We're concerned that the routes are being reduced, and, therefore, less people, instead of more people, are being served.  We're seeing that by the attendance, today, of these people.”

However, the changes add more frequent service as well as service on Sunday. Connect Transit added a Gold route to the proposal last week to provide more service in the west side of Bloomington, but, if approved, plans would still move forward to remove bus service from other parts of Bloomington and Normal.

A plan to fill in the gaps in service by using Uber or other providers is still in the works. The board will meet Tuesday night at Uptown Station to make a final decision on the changes, which would take effect in August.