LIMA — The Allen County Regional Transit Authority is working to transition into having fixed bus stops rather than allowing passengers to flag buses down along routes, according to executive director Sheila Schmitt.
“We are talking about that,” she said. “We’ve come up with a design for the signs and ordered the signs.”
Schmitt announced the upcoming transition during a presentation to the Lima Rotary Club Monday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. According to Schmitt, moving to having dedicated pick up and drop off points along bus routes has several advantages over the current system, one being a more efficient and timely transit system.
“It hurts our on-time performance,” she told the Rotary Club. “There have been times when drivers have had to make three or four stops on the same block.”
In addition, having dedicated stops would help bring about better, safer traffic flow, because vehicles following buses are often required to stop behind buses in a hurry if there is no parking lane on the street.
“We won’t have to worry about buses blocking driveways or intersections,” Schmitt said.
While Schmitt is looking forward to implementing this change, she is not in a hurry to do so, instead prefering to make the transition gradually and with public input.
“We’ll probably just put them on one or two routes and put up signs to let the public know what we’re doing,” Schmitt said. “We’ll hold public hearings.”
With the RTA losing funding from federal sources while also facing increased expenses, the agency has been forced to be creative in generating funds, involving everything from leasing out office space in the RTA building to selling lottery tickets and snacks in the lobby. While there is no local levy funding for the RTA, Schmitt said if it comes to it, a levy could become a reality here in the future.
“We have not come to the point where we’ve had to cut service and we hope not to,” she said. “Most transit facilities that survive today can because they have some dedicated funding, like a levy.”
No timetable has yet been set to begin implementing fixed bus stops.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.