ITP To Take Plan To The Public

July 10, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Interurban Transit Partnership board agreed recently that a near-term service plan recommended for The Rapid transit system should move to the public hearing stage.

The near-term service plan stems from The Rapid’s first ever comprehensive operational analysis, which assessed the performance of all routes, service frequency, night and weekend service, transfer patterns, hours of service, and service demands and complaints. It incorporated ridership survey data, feedback from The Rapid staff, bus drivers and dispatchers, as well as public input.

The near-term plan is designed to provide The Rapid with an efficient base transit system from which to continue to improve service levels and performance, said Conrad Venema, manager of strategic planning for The Rapid. Service plan recommendations address existing system inefficiencies, improvements to system connectivity, elimination of unproductive service and improvements in system service levels and performance.

As recommended, the near term plan includes the following system changes:

  • Simplification of service patterns on routes.
  • Improved efficiencies through interlining.
  • Regularly scheduled service on
    Lake Michigan Drive
  • Airport service seven days a week from WoodlandShopping Center
  • An expanded weekday evening and weekend transit network.
  • Elimination of 45-minute frequency and creation of 15-, 30- and 60-minute service.
  • Expanded periphery transfer opportunities.
  • New service/routes to
    Lake Michigan Drive/Wilson Avenue
    , Meijer and MetroHealthHospital

The near-term service plan requires an additional four buses and an additional $242,000 annually to operate them. That cost would likely become part of the fiscal 2008 budget picture, said Peter Varga, executive director of The Rapid. ITP chair Carol Sheets noted that the board has to come up with a financial plan to fund the near-term system improvements before it can implement them.    

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