Springfield, IL – With the Sangamon Mass Transit District (SMTD) on the verge of multiple changes that will impact passengers, operators and everyone interacting with public transportation in the Springfield area, SMTD is providing an additional avenue for the public to make their own suggestions on the website.

“We are just weeks away from releasing a new Passenger Guide, we are implementing new onboard technology, demolition is underway at the area of the new off-street transfer center, which will necessitate a change in several of our current bus routes, and following the completion of the current technology upgrade, we are planning to upgrade fare collection,” said Steve Schoeffel, Service Planning & Marketing Specialist for SMTD.

Schoeffel explains the new Passenger Guide will replace SMTD folding maps and schedules with an easier-to-use booklet containing all of the information from the maps and schedules along with other information passengers would have to visit the website for currently. The onboard technology upgrades will include real-time information for passengers, GPS-controlled destination sign changes and automated stop announcements. The new Transfer Center will provide a safer base of operations for daytime and nighttime service, and a re-design of SMTD’s routes will allow for more-efficient service, more consistent schedules and overall better bus service geared toward current and projected demand.

“As an agency that deals with public transportation day-in and day-out, we obviously have ideas on how to make improvements,” Schoeffel added. “But now, early in the process, we want to open up an avenue for passengers and the general public to tell us what they would like to see as we update the system. What would make them use the system more, and what would make residents not currently using transit consider SMTD as a viable transportation option?”

While the SMTD website has allowed for general comment for a while, a special “Share Your Ideas” link and page has been built, including an online form where passengers can make suggestions or requests. The information collected will be seen regularly by staff, and will be collected and included with any public comment records kept for the associated changes.

“We see this as an opportunity for stakeholders in SMTD’s area of service to make the kind of suggestions for larger changes that aren’t often on the agenda of a typical public comment session set up for a narrowly-defined individual project,” Schoeffel continued. “We still will have to work within – or possibly with less than – our current budget, but this is one of the few opportunities we, as an agency, have had to encourage and collect feedback on our overall system so early in the process – long before statutory public comment requirements.”