COVID-19 means Bloomington Transit holds most new routes in limbo, gives hazard pay to drivers, still looks on sunny side

At its meeting on Tuesday night, Bloomington Transit’s board voted unanimously to approve just one of the new routes that had emerged from a study done by a consultant last year.

The collection of newly designed routes, optimized to increase readership, was presented to the public at meetings held last year in November and December.

The one new route approved by the board will be named Route 2 West 17th Street, replacing the old one called Route 2 West 11th Street via Showers Complex. It will start service later this year on Aug. 24.

The reason for the delayed decision on other routes, until some undetermined future time, is the uncertainty caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. At whatever point a decision is made on the other routes, implementation is not expected before January 2021. Continue reading “COVID-19 means Bloomington Transit holds most new routes in limbo, gives hazard pay to drivers, still looks on sunny side”

Bloomington Transit board likely to put off decision on new routes, delay implementation until January 2021

At its next scheduled board meeting on April 21, the Bloomington Transit (BT) board is likely to postpone a decision on new routes for the public transit agency, which were originally planned for implementation in August of this year.

The staff’s recommended postponement is based on the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The reason was described in a Friday email message to transit advocates from Zac Huneck, BT’s planning and special projects manager: “We believe introducing major service changes would add an unnecessary burden to our already strained operations.”

Heck’s email message said staff are looking at January 2021 for starting service on the newly designed routes, which are meant to increase ridership by increasing frequency and on-time performance, while maintaining about the same number of service hours. Continue reading “Bloomington Transit board likely to put off decision on new routes, delay implementation until January 2021”

COVID-19 pushes new Bloomington bus route decision to April, reduced service to match IU remote instruction period

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Bloomington Transit buses head out from the downtown transit center on Saturday, March 14, 2020 (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

In a press release issued Friday,  Bloomington Transit (BT), the public bus service in Bloomington, announced that its March board meeting is cancelled. That follows the trend towards cancelling government board and commission meetings to reduce the chances of transmitting the COVID-19 pandemic virus.

The meeting cancellation will delay by a month a board decision on new routes.

During all Indiana University breaks, including spring break this year (March 15 to 22), BT buses follow a reduced schedule of operation. That’s because more than 70 percent of its riders are university affiliates.

According to Friday’s press release, even after spring break is over this year, some of BT’s university-centric bus routes will see continued reduced service. That’s because of a university decision to teach students remotely for at least two weeks (March 23 to April 5) following spring break. Continue reading “COVID-19 pushes new Bloomington bus route decision to April, reduced service to match IU remote instruction period”

Bus ridership up 1.75% over last year as transit board mulls tweaks to proposed new routes, how to court Bloomington city council on key policy changes

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At their Tuesday night meeting, the Bloomington Transit board gets a walk-through from general manager Lew May (blue shirt) of staff-recommended adjustments to a system of route re-configurations that came out of a consultant’s study. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting of the Bloomington Transit (BT) board delivered a bright spot of news. The 3.16 million rides taken on fixed route buses in 2019 reflect a 1.75-percent increase over the total from 2018.

As BT general manager Lew May noted, it’s the first year-to-year increase since 2014, after four straight years of decreases. Continue reading “Bus ridership up 1.75% over last year as transit board mulls tweaks to proposed new routes, how to court Bloomington city council on key policy changes”