Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nightime SMTD bus users get one-hour reprieve

University of Illinois Springfield students swayed the minds of Springfield Mass Transit District officials to reduce night service bus routes by one hour instead of two.

Reducing Monday-through-Friday night service by two hours was one of a series of cost-saving measures SMTD had proposed in October in response to payment delays from the state. The transit district also proposed eliminating Saturday night bus service and a night service route to Springfield’s west side.

Trustees on Monday unanimously approved all three reductions, which would take effect Jan. 8.

“I am confident we have done our due diligence and analyzed every angle to make sure the damage is as minimal as possible,” trustee Wynne Coplea said.

Steve Schoeffel, SMTD’s service planning and marketing specialist, said dozens of UIS students expressed concerns at a public hearing on campus Nov. 16 about ending service at 9:45 p.m. instead of 11:45 p.m.

Based on the feedback, Schoeffel said, the district amended its proposal to one hour earlier, or 10:45 p.m., to minimize the hardship for most students who rely on the bus to get home. “The route the kids take the most will still be there,” he said.

Board chairman Brian Brewer said Monday he was happy to get so much feedback from riders. According to Schoffel, 60 people, primarily UIS students, commented at two public hearings.

The original proposed cuts were expected to save about $240,490 annually, primarily in overtime costs.

Updated figures of how much the one-hour rollback will save weren’t available Monday.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 28, 2016.

Read the entire article online.