DANVILLE – Danville Mass Transit bus route changes starting Jan. 2 are largely aimed at helping more people get to their workplaces during different shifts.
Plans also are being made for the possible closure of Logan Avenue for the new Carle medical campus.
“There will be a few people affected by all these changes,” said DMT Director Lisa Beith.
Beith added the changes are being made for the entirety of their riders and potential new riders in Danville and surrounding communities.
DMT officials this month were putting the finishing touches on the maps and timetables to get them printed, and having meetings with employees about the changes to make sure regular riders and the public were aware of the changes.
“Our route changes are based around an employment survey that Vermilion Advantage helped us with,” Beith said.
The bus route changes are to help employees at least at three businesses — KIK Custom Products on Hegeler Lane, Lebanon Seaboard Corp. on Ross Lane and Sygma off Lynch Road on Southgate Drive.
The 9 Georgetown bus route is adding three weekday trips at 7:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. There won’t be a 2:45 p.m. route or Saturday service. The route also will include a stop by KIK on 2nd and Spelter.
Beith said this allows riders who live in Georgetown and Westville to get to KIK for work shifts that begin at 7 a.m. The trips will go through KIK first, and assist people who get off shift at 7 a.m.
The change will help with overtime shifts, too, she added.
The 13 Tilton route is adding a 6:45 a.m. weekday trip. Saturdays, the Tilton route will now be part of the demand/response service from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
The changes will provide service for the Coachlight Mobile Home Park residents and take employees to Lebanon Seaboard.
The 14 Lynch route, which has the most changes, will now leave the downtown terminal at 15 minutes after the hour. The trip will be shortened to one hour and will run every hour from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Lynch also will run every other hour on Saturdays, from 7:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Some stops will be added and deleted.
Riders who need to go to the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System can now board the Lynch bus instead of the Main/Fairchild since they both leave at the same time, 15 minutes past the hour.
"We have a lot of people going to the VA and (Danville Area Community College)," Beith said.
Anyone going to McLane will still have to get off at Lynch and Main (northbound). McLane didn’t feel there was enough bus ridership to justify going onto its property.
The Lynch route is the only bus that goes into Genpact.
Some other routes will add a weekday time, such as the 2 Gilbert and 4 Bowman routes. The Bowman route will now stop at Bowman Estates on Bowman Avenue instead of pulling into its parking lot.
On Saturdays, the 8 Douglas Park bus route will now be part of the demand/response service.
The 10 Danville-Champaign route will see the 5:30 p.m. trip eliminated. There still will be 4:20 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. trips.
Saturday demand-response, where riders call for service, also will provide service to 8 Douglas Park (south of Main Street), 12 Heights South Danville and 13 Tilton.
Beith said some of the changes have come about because they’ve had “a lot of dead miles” and some buses without many passengers, which they don’t want to see.
Increases in the cost for operations are largely being offset by other changes, she said.
They have added another full-time bus driver.
"It's adding eight hours to our work day to do this. It's a chance we're going to take to try to increase ridership and revenue," Beith said.
They also have had drivers trying a pilot program to see if they can use an iPad to transmit all of their information about mileages, riders and times.
Also in 2020, DMT officials will be keeping their eye on how the Census and population numbers will affect future funding, and bids will be opened next month on a study of the DMT administrative/maintenance facility at 101 N Jackson Street. Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations to the office's small ticket and lobby area, making that area larger for multiple people, more functional dispatch and office space, dedicated training/meeting office space, employee lunch and break areas, maintenance expansion for more indoor bus storage, tools and parts storage, and upgrade to existing garage area are being looked at.
The study is to look at if it’s feasible to reconfigure the space and accommodate those needs or if they need to get more land.