RMTD revamping route system

A recent route analysis study funded by the Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) revealed various recommendations for the bus company to improve its services for area customers.

The $50,000 study conducted by McDonald Transit Associates, Inc., talked about keeping route deviations to a minimum and making route times as efficient as possible for all passengers. Lisa Brown of RMTD said the route analysis study was something the bus company desperately needed to do since it had not done so in 10 years.

“It is a good idea for transit properties to analyze routes, and we wanted to make sure service for our customers was the best it could be,” Brown said.

The study suggested route cycle times run in 15-minute increments and headways on routes run no longer than 60 minutes except in special cases. It also said routes should be “interlined to better serve current system ridership patterns and provide direct service to opposite ends of the community.”

The study suggested something that may temporarily alarm some users. It stated “flag stops by passengers at intersections between official bus stops should be eliminated.” It added, however, that bus stops should be placed every 600-900 feet in “contiguous urban development areas” and “spacing would be more frequent in high-density locations and less frequent in outlying areas.”

Brown explained that flag stops are very time consuming, especially in areas like 7th Street. What they would like to happen is drivers stopping every 600-900 feet to the proposed stops instead of stopping at every intersection, which is what Brown said drivers are doing now.

The study also proposed certain areas be designated for a demand-response service. The study said this type of service would pick up and drop off passengers at their doorstep within the area. Places mentioned for such a service were Loves Park, Machesney Park, Belvidere, and the area in Rockford bounded by East State Street on the south, Spring Creek on the north, Mulford on the east and 2nd St. on the west.

Brown said public hearings will be held for the public to hear the proposed changes and to voice their opinions, questions or concerns. The second round of the hearings will be July 31 at 10 a.m. at Ken Rock Community Center and 5 p.m. at the Montague Library Branch.

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