CR Transit and the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization rolled out the changes to the bus system they will propose to the City Council, with implementation anticipated this summer. The changes are cautious, more limited than the most incremental model presented at last spring's open house (see link below). They are unlikely to attract new riders, which is unfortunate, but within the limits of their budget and political mandate they will improve the experience of many current riders.
The core features of the bus system remain: daytime only operation (5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), with lines running hourly out of downtown on looping routes to maximize the service area. However, in a few cases low-use areas have been trimmed, making for a more logical route. The two southeast side routes, pictured below, have been combined, making for a two-mile straight shot along high-traffic Mt. Vernon Road. The routes from the New Bohemia neighborhood near the river to the Mt. Vernon Road Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store, or from Washington High School to New Bohemia, will be far more direct than they are now--see current routes 2 and 9--though it will still be lengthy and tedious to go in the reverse direction.
|Route 2 on the southeast side (proposed)|
|West side route changes|
|Route 5 along 1st Avenue (proposed)|
|New circulator routes in Marion (light green) and Hiawatha (red) would replace current servic||e|
Revolutionary changes like extensive night service, express lines and multiple connections could make the system attractive to new riders,but are probably impossible without substantial infusions of funds. Significant geographic contraction could make the system more fiscally sustainable--possibly providing the basis for revolutionary changes--but would probably impact current riders who, while relatively few in number, depend on the bus. General Mills, Kirkwood Community College and employers around Westdale Mall are where they are, and it's hard to serve them without having extensive routes. For current riders, the virtues of the proposed changes are that they can still get where they need to go, and maybe by a less "scenic" route.
EARLIER POST: "Changes Planned for C.R. Transit," 30 April 2016