Springfield, IL – The Springfield Mass Transit District (SMTD) will implement changes to one route and three schedules beginning June 6th. In addition, a new Lincoln Tomb & War Memorials Express route will begin the evening of Tuesday, June 7th.
“A year ago, we began an annual process of evaluating our entire system each spring and making recommendations for changes to address everything from efficiency to service gaps to route performance,” said Steve Schoeffel, SMTD’s Service Planning and Marketing Specialist. “These changes are a product of that evaluation and recommendation process.” He listed the changes passengers can expect beginning Monday, June 6th:
1. Route 8 – 1st & Highland will be simplified into one path with a single schedule. The route currently runs two different paths. One serves Highland and North Street, and one serves Highland and Outer Park. While SMTD has received positive feedback on the addition of North St. and Outer Part to the route, the current split route schedule is too complicated. The new route will follow the existing route from downtown to 1st & Outer Park, then travel west to MacArthur, south to Highland, east to Spring, south to North St. and North St. to Stanford Avenue, then to Scheels. The return trip to downtown will follow virtually the same path in reverse.
2. Route 5 – N. Walnut will begin 30-minute service throughout the day. The route currently has 1-hour off-peak service between 9:15am and 2:15pm. Service every thirty minutes throughout the day will begin on this route on June 6th.
3. Route 18 – Lawrence/Knox Knolls will begin hourly off-peak service between the hours of 9:15am and 2:15pm. Currently, this route has 30-minute service throughout the day, but considerably higher ridership during this time on Route 5 makes switching thirty minute service to Route 5 a more-efficient use of SMTD’s resources. This route will also begin its inbound trip at Lawrence & Dickinson rather than the current Dickinson & Cranmer stop, and it will begin that inbound trip at :27 after the hour all day and :57 after the hour all day except the off-peak hours 9:15am to 2:15pm.
4. Route 11 – UIS will only stop at the County Health Department building during their regular office hours. Monday through Friday, the first bus to stop here will be at
8:26am and the last bus will depart to downtown at 5:29pm.
5. Lincoln Tomb & War Memorials Express service will begin Tuesday evening at 5:30pm at the Washington Street side of the Old State Capitol and will travel non- stop to Lincoln’s Tomb and the War Memorials at Oak Ridge Cemetery at 5:30pm, 6:30pm and 7:30pm June through August. This route is designed around the weekly Flag Retreat ceremony at Lincoln’s Tomb at 7pm on Tuesday nights. The last bus will leave Lincoln’s Tomb at 7:46pm and the War Memorials at 7:50pm in order to be out of the cemetery before it closes at 8pm. Fare will be a one-time $2 per person charge, and the ticket can be used multiple times on the day it is first used.
“What’s New Summer 2016 at SMTD!” brochures containing all of these details are being distributed by operators on buses and at SMTD’s offices in the coming days.
“We believe these changes will be a net positive for our passengers, operators and staff,” Schoeffel said. “Route 8 will be much simpler for the public to use, and we’re excited to offer more frequent service on one of our busiest routes, Route 5 N. Walnut, which serves Memorial Medical Center.”
SMTD is considering the Lincoln Tomb & War Memorials Express a pilot program.
“We are cautiously optimistic about how well this new express route will do,” Schoeffel added. “After this summer, we will evaluate ridership and any feedback we get from the community to see if it’s something we want to continue, make permanent or even expand. The future will depend on how well the route performs this summer.”