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Connect Transit

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.

Normal Council Approves Theater Renovations

Apr 4, 2016

The Normal Theater will receive some new updates later this year. During a regular meeting, the Normal Town Council approved $30,000 to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Plans to make repairs to the roof are also in the works. City Manager Mark Peterson says he’s pleased the council is spending money on the theater. 

Normal Council To Hear Connect Transit Changes

Apr 4, 2016
Passengers board a bus in Uptown Normal's transfer center.
Connect Transit

Connect Transit will present proposed bus system changes in the Twin Cities to the Normal Town Council tonight. Council members will not be asked to approve the changes brought forward by the analysis at the meeting. The Transit Board will look more closely at the proposal at their meeting next month, with the final changes slated to begin in August. 

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

Bloomington-Normal's mass transit system is poised to make major overhauls to the bus routes later this summer. Connect Transit has a public presentation set for March 29 on proposed changes that grew out of a Comprehensive Operational Analysis of the system.

Bloomington Back In Black

Feb 22, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen heard next year’s budget proposal from City Manager David Hales and Finance Director Patti-Lynn Silva. The plan includes $207 million in spending, with $9.7 million coming from the sales tax increase passed last year. The proposal also eliminates the $7.5 million structural deficit projected last year.

Bloomington Council To Hear Budget Recommendations

Feb 21, 2016
David Hales
Michael Hill / WGLT

Bloomington City Manager David Hales will present a $207 million budget to the city council Monday. The plan eliminates a structural deficit, projected at $7.5 million from last year.

Some Connect Transit Routes Change Today

Feb 1, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Beginning today (Mon, Feb. 1) updated routes for some Connect Transit buses will take effect.

The Bloomington-Normal bus service says the Red B and Yellow G Routes will stay on Euclid Avenue, no longer turning on Illinois/Olive in order to stop on Erickson.  This change is being made to accommodate 40 foot buses, and also to avoid an area that is frequently detoured due to winter road conditions.

Connect Transit

Bloomington-Normal’s bus system is making it  easier for customers and drivers to handle fares. Connect Transit is installing 53 automatic fare boxes, one on every fixed route and Connect Mobility bus.  Public Outreach Coordinator Gabe Goldsmith says the electronic fare collection system includes mobile ticketing via smart phones and cards with magnetic strips, similar to those issued by parking decks.  

Normal Looking At 'Status Quo' Budget

Jan 14, 2016
Brad Basham Photography / bbasham.com and Town of Normal

Next year's budget for the Town of Normal won't look much different from this year. The Town Council is working on the spending plan. City Manager Mark Peterson says the proposal is "a little higher, but, really, no major difference in basic operations."

James Yolkowski / Wikipedia

Within a four county region that includes McLean, Livingston, Ford and DeWitt counties, Life Centers for Independent Living helps thousands of people with disabilities obtain work and live on their own. LIFE CIL, as it's often called, recently signed an agreement with Connect Transit to help screen riders with disabilities to help determine the best transportation option. On Thursday (11/19), LIFE CIL celebrates 30 years of community service. The celebration coincides with the 25th anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. GLT's Judy Valente takes a look back -- and forward -- with LIFE CIL's executive director Gail Kear.

Connect Mobility To Needs Test Riders Next Year

Nov 11, 2015
Connect Transit bus
Connect Transit

The LIFE Center for Independent Living is working with Connect Transit to determine who is eligible to use Connect Mobility buses. The service provides door-to-door rides for people with disabilities, and currently allows all applicants that can provide a doctor's note for a documented disability or anyone age 65 and over.

Flagging A Bus Soon Thing Of The Past

Nov 6, 2015
Staff / WGLT

Beginning Monday, Connect Transit buses in Bloomington-Normal will only stop at designated spots.  Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson says the signs marking bus stops have been up for a few weeks now, and he hopes the public is ready for the transition. He says the new system will increase efficiency, and cut down on travel times.

Connect Transit Loses Out On Grant

Nov 2, 2015
Jim Browne / WGLT

Connect Transit is looking at other options after being turned down for a federal TIGER Grant for a Downtown Bloomington transfer station. The grant would have replaced small shelters now on Front Street. Connect Transit General Manager Andrew Johnson says he's not discouraged.

Transportation Leader Weighs In On Highway Funding

Oct 13, 2015
Staff / Connect Transit

Speaking in Normal, the President and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association says he's confident Congress will agree on money for the Highway Trust Fund. Michael Melaniphy says it's an issue that Democrats and Republicans can support.

Authorization to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund will run out on October 29 if no action is taken. The deadline is a result of a three month extension passed last July.

On the topic of infrastructure, Melaniphy said about 15 other countries rate higher than the US.  

Linda Healy/WGLT

Ray LaHood spent more than two decades in Congress and served another 4 1/2 years as President Barack Obama's first Secretary of Transportation. Next month, his book, “Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics” is being released.

He spoke in Normal Wednesday to the Illinois chapter of the American Planning Association state conference. But before that, he stopped by the GLT studios to discuss transit funding, politics and life after governmental service with WGLT's Willis Kern.

Staff / WGLT

The town of Normal could generate more than $6 million in additional revenue once the 1% sales tax increase goes into effect next year. A quarter of that is earmarked to community-wide mental health improvements. The remainder is up for grabs.

Normal Mulling Over Sales Tax Priorities

Oct 6, 2015
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will take more time to decide how to spend additional revenues coming from a sales tax increase passed last month. They're discussing funding for Connect Transit, economic development, and infrastructure; but using sales tax dollars for a sports complex is no longer under consideration. 

Council Member Kathleen Lorenz said Normal could also decide to use the increase toward programs and services that would normally receive money from the General Fund.

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