Connect Transit | WGLT

Connect Transit

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
Connect Transit
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.

Staff

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis wants to give more authority to state and local governments when it comes to improving the country's transportation infrastructure. Speaking before boarding a Connect Transit bus in Normal, Davis said his house bill empowers localities.

"If I'm successful in this bill, it will create more of a local stakeholder committee to make decisions on awards to groups like Connect Transit. It allows people who are more familiar with out local mass transit needs to have a say on who gets awarded the competitive funds versus who doesn't," Davis said.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

A new era of public transportation is driving into the Twin Cities. Connect Transit is launching a completely redesigned bus system with new routes, increased bus frequency, and for the first time ever, Sunday service. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson said the new system is a "game changer" for Bloomington-Normal.

Michael Hill / WGLT

People in the Twin Cities are reacting to the Connect Transit route and schedule overhaul that will start on August 15th. Sheila Eskew of Bloomington said she's happy with the changes.

Connect Transit

Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson is speaking out against the 2016 Republican Platform released last week at the Republican National Convention. The document calls for the removal of Highway Trust Fund money from public transit systems such as Connect Transit in Bloomington-Normal.

Connect Transit Moving Forward With August Overhaul

Jul 26, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board of Trustees approved proposed fee changes as part of a system overhaul that takes effect in three weeks. Beginning on August 15, riders will be able to purchase one-day and seven-day passes for fixed routes as well as 10-ride and 20-ride cards for Connect Mobilitity routes. 

Connect Transit Announces Fee Restructure

Jun 29, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

People in Bloomington are reacting to fee changes proposed by Connect Transit. Under the plan, fixed route fares for one way riders, people with disabilities and senior citizens would remain the same along with one way fares for the Connect Mobility door-to-door service.

Staff

A six-month pilot project that will test limited bus service in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington was approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The plan is to provide morning and afternoon service in those areas beginning in mid-August. Those areas would have been cut off by the route restructure slated for the fall.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Connect Transit is asking for feedback on a proposal that would provide limited service to people that will be cut off when new routes and schedules are put in place this August. The plan would provide morning and afternoon service during peak times in northern Normal and southwestern Bloomington.

Staff / WGLT

Some drivers might think a street with curbs, a center line, and plenty of room for traffic is a complete street. But a specific policy adopted by more 730 agencies across the U.S. involves much more.

Both Bloomington and Normal could have such a policy in place this summer that would change how the two communities view a street's uses and users.

Connect Transit Launching New App

May 29, 2016
Staff

A new app is in the works for Connect Transit. The bus system has been using DoubleMap for the last four years, but will switch to another app. General Manager Andrew Johnson said the goal is to have it ready by mid-August when new routes and schedules are put in place.

Transit Board Approves Routes, Schedule Changes

May 24, 2016
Staff / WGLT

New routes and schedules for buses in the Twin Cities were approved by the Connect Transit Board of Trustees. The changes include more frequent service, Sunday service, and more transfer locations. General Manager Andrew Johnson said, as a result of the changes, the yearly operating costs will go up to $14.5 million, which is about $3 million higher than current operating costs.

Connect Transit To Vote On Route Changes After Delay

May 22, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board of Trustees will vote on proposed route and schedule changes for the Twin Cities after taking an additional three weeks to consider the proposal. Trustee Jennifer McDade, who moved to table the plan at the last meeting, said they've made progress since three weeks ago.

Connect Transit Steering Away From Uber

May 19, 2016
Staff / WGLT

Connect Transit is eliminating Uber as an option and proposing two new options to close the gaps between new proposed bused routes and where people live.

Transit Board Postpones Changes

May 3, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

A proposal to change routes and schedules for buses in the Twin Cities has been delayed until later this month. Trustees voted 4-3 to table the route change proposal. Concerns about the plan centered around a possible contract with Uber or a similar provider as well as the addition of a Gold route in west Bloomington last week.

Twin Cities Bus Riders Unhappy With Proposal

May 2, 2016
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.

Connect Transit Nearing Deal With Uber

Apr 26, 2016
Staff / WGLT

Connect Transit is planning to partner with Uber in a pilot program to help Twin Cities residents get to the nearest bus stop

A contract is still pending between the ride share company and transit agency amid a proposed overhaul of routes and schedules in the area. At the Bloomington City Council meeting Monday evening, Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson said the bus system could subsidize Uber rides to resolve the “first mile, last mile” problem for some customers cut off by the route changes.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

Bloomington could begin bringing in more money for alcohol regulation and late night downtown policing as well as police and fire department pensions.

Connect Transit Tweaks Route Plan

Apr 6, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

Connect Transit is continuing to make adjustments to its proposed bus route plan. The new change in the plan will keep a stop in front of Phoenix Towers.

The green bus will no longer stop near Chestnut and Center streets, so the vehicle no longer has to get across two lanes of traffic in a single block.

The blue route will be extended down Chestnut to Locust, and will also stop at Phoenix Towers. That was a stop that was formerly made by the purple bus.

Connect Transit indicates more shifts in the proposed route overhaul are probably coming.

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