Members of the public submitted their comments on Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) bus service at the May 20 RATS Board meeting in Loves Park.
An opening statement was made by Rev. Leak. He was worried about the Loves Park routes and connecting points with the Big Loop North, at Ks Merchandise and the Alpine Crosstown. The Crosstown bus goes to Lynmar Road. The Rockford Public Works Department is looking into this area, planning to put in sidewalks and lights for pedestrians.
RMTD Public Relations Specialist Lisa Brown said this extra bus (the Alpine Crosstown) would better serve the people, and RMTD will look at the route with the help of Loves Park ridership. RMTD solicits their suggestions.
RMTD has received several types of complaints about the new service. Major problems concerned transfer points and waiting time for other buses, especially the Alpine Crosstown at Lynmar. There should be a transfer point for the East State. It was noted that some of the drivers wont wait at Lynmar for people going either north or downtown.
The School Street route was questioned. Why is there a 20-minute waiting time on this route? The bus goes west, stops along Pierpont and again by Auburn High School. After leaving the transfer center, it should go to School and Central, turn right on Central to Auburn, turn left, go up to Johnston, turn left and back down to Auburn and to the transfer center. The time should be different so it can meet the West State bus. There should be two buses on this route.
The Kenmore route was discontinued, which makes it more difficult for people to stop at Loglis and other stores in the North Rockton Avenue shopping center. Service should run both ways, as people have to transport groceries. Sunday and night rides are too long.
The passengers were told last fall that the new routes will make more connections with other buses, but in practice, many people have found it not so. The time points need to be revised so people can meet other buses.
Some of the buses end their runs too early, such as 5:15 p.m., when people need service at 5:45 or 6 p.m.
It was asked why do three buses go down East State Street in the downtown area, 10 minutes before the hour, five minutes after the hour, and 20 after the hour?
Lisa Brown, said there should be four stops at Forest Plazaby Kohls, the stop sign by the small shopping area, by the florist, and the stop sign at Media Play. She said RMTD is looking at getting their time points right for the routes.
A question was asked about the new transfer station at East State Street; this is still in planning.
Parts of the old Kenmore route lose service because of the School of Hope employees going to and from workone in the morning, one in the afternoon daily. Passengers at the transfer center are losing one or two buses when Growth Enterprises employees are transported. Every two weeks when Growth employees get paid, everyone wants the first bus; if its full, they send out another bus, and the Clifton route loses service for two hours.
Buses are taken off the regular routes to service these locations.
Brown said she was working on a public handout for bus riders and the general public, with a list of dos and donts, how to register complaints, etc. She said she will try to follow up on any complaints sent to her.
Brown said that if anyone had a complaint with a driver about route stops, the drivers supervisor must be called. She asked driver Pat Wilkins whether this should be in writing or just a warning. Wilkins said it should be a warning. Brown said she would work with Wilkins about where the transfer points are.
Discussion followed about a rechargeable pass for a 10- or 15-month pass; the half-price pass needs a picture ID. There was also discussion about students from a different city who have school IDs. Brown said RMTD would look into this situation.
Editors note: Petitions requesting changes in the RMTD service are available at The Rock River Times. Rockford resident Thomas Unzicker contributed information for this article.