Plan features changes to 18 MetroBus routes, 15 of which will be implemented in June to better serve riders
The St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) Board has voted to approve the adoption of the SCCTD Transit Vision 2020 Network Plan, featuring increased frequency on certain routes, expansion of service on weekends and improved service to area hospitals. The plan was presented at SCCTD’s board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, based on findings and analysis from Transit Vision 2020, a nine-month comprehensive study of the entire MetroBus system in St. Clair County. As part of the plan’s approval, the board also adopted a $29.6 million operating budget, an increase of 18.7 percent – or $4.7 million – over the prior year. As part of the plan, 18 MetroBus routes will be changed to better serve riders and increase ridership, with 15 of the route changes going into effect on June 15, 2020.
The SCCTD Transit Vision 2020 Network Plan was developed by Transportation Management Design, which conducted the initial study, in conjunction with SCCTD and Bi-State. The study reflects a 12% growth in ridership over the next one or two years. The plan maintains coverage in key areas and invests resources efficiently where new coverage is warranted. There were numerous opportunities for community engagement throughout the process including an online survey, pop-up events and stakeholder meetings touching more than 1,500 riders, residents and business owners. Highlights include increased frequency of several routes, including Route 1, East St Louis to Belleville, and Route 12, O’Fallon – Fairview Heights, all of which will operate every 15 minutes. The study showed that 60 percent of current customers will be within a quarter mile of these frequent routes, and 64 percent are located within a half-mile. Every other route, except two, will operate consistently every 20 or 30 minutes on weekdays. Most weekend routes will also operate every 20 or 30 minutes during daytime hours.
A new route will be added to connect Memorial Hospital East and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital via the Frank Scott Parkway. A new #3 route will also create connections between East St. Louis and employment centers in Sauget, Cahokia and North Dupo. Two routes will either be discontinued or replaced to streamline service to better serve customers. There will be new options for the riders impacted on these routes.
The plan also calls for continuing the SCCTD Flyer on-demand service in East St. Louis and extending its coverage zone into Alorton and the Golden Gardens neighborhood of Centerville. Route 21, the Scott AFB-Main Base Shuttle, and Route 21x, Scott AFB-East Base Shuttle will also be replaced with the on-demand service. SCCTD and Bi-State will defer changes to Scott Air force Base, Mascoutah and Lebanon until late 2020 or early 2021.
“St. Clair County Transit District began reviewing and analyzing the current 18 fixed bus routes last June,” said Herb Simmons, Chair of the St. Clair County Transit District Board. “Since the last comprehensive plan was completed more than two decades ago, employment centers have developed in new areas and new housing stock has been added in outlying communities. SCCTD has an ongoing commitment to serve traditional communities reliant upon public transportation and is focused on serving employment, medical, education and recreation centers. The changes in this plan reflect those values.”
Projected annual operating costs for the SCCTD Transit Vision 2020 Network Plan are $29.6 million. This new investment in service has the potential to grow ridership by as much as 12 percent annually over the next one to two years.
“Although there will be some elimination of two routes that are not as productive along with the addition of two new routes, the new plan calls for an additional $4.7 million in service by expanding weekend operating hours and offering some later evening hours,” said SCCTD Managing Director Ken Sharkey. “With the new routes planned for the service area and the addition of mobility on demand zones with our Flyer service, ridership is projected to grow, reversing a four-year decline. We will continually be tweaking the plan to ensure the best service possible in St. Clair County.”
For more information about the SCCTD Transit Vision 2020 Network Plan or to view the planned route changes, visit www.scctd.org.
Founded in 1981, St. Clair County Transit District oversees 11 MetroLink stations and 18 bus routes in St. Clair County, IL. If commuters have any questions about service, they can contact (618) 628-8090 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday – Friday. For more information visit www.scctd.org.