The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 14, 2013

Transit launches new routes, schedules

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Transit officials hope the newly changed routes and schedules improve service instead of throwing bumps in the road.

Ottumwa Transit executive director Dave Silverio said the first day of new routes went off without a hitch.

"One of the biggest changes they're going to notice is if they ride the north route, after they're done at Indian Hills, it will take them straight to Walmart," he said.

Before, the bus would return downtown after Indian Hills, where riders would have to transfer to the south commercial route to get to Walmart.

"This cuts that whole step out and takes them straight to where they want to go," he said.

That's the overall goal of the entire redesign: "trying to get people where they want to go quicker and easier."

Robert LaPoint, transit advisory board chair, rode some of the routes Wednesday. The routes and schedules were last tweaked in 2011, and the last major change was in the mid-1990s, he said.

"The city consulted with Bob Bourne to come down, look at our routes and come up with a way we could enhance ridership," LaPoint said.

Bob Bourne is a longtime transit consultant who made CyRide, Ames' transit system, the popular system it is today.

During the last year, public forums were held, surveys were conducted and data was analyzed to form the new routes.

"We had to look at the ridership and where we really wanted to go," Silverio said.

One problem transit officials wanted to avoid was the downtown bus zone continuing to be a "meeting place," LaPoint said.

"Now three buses go out to the mall or Walmart area so people won't have to wait around downtown," he said.

Before the change, every route converged at the downtown bus shelter, congesting the area and forcing some riders to wait long periods of time before their transfer bus showed up.

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