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BLOOMINGTON — Michele Mott didn't mince words about Connect Transit's new routes and schedules Sunday.

"I hate them," she said.

Reviews were mixed as Twin City residents tested the new system, which increases bus frequency but cuts service to some areas of Bloomington-Normal, before its launch Monday morning.

Connect Transit offered four hours of new-route service Sunday to help riders and drivers alike adapt.

Among them:

• Bonnie Lamb of Bloomington, who was aboard the purple route at 8:30 a.m. She said she was testing the trip to Bergner's, which she makes several times weekly for work.

"I had to cut my hours so I could leave by 7:30 (and catch the bus)," she said. "I used to be able to catch the 9:30 bus."

Lamb said she's also annoyed by a $3 hike for 30-day passes. That increase isn't reflected in the current Connect Transit brochure, which many riders picked up Sunday.

All fixed-route fares are free through Aug. 28.

• Illinois State University junior Devyn Guzman, who was waiting for the red route at Uptown Station at 9:30. a.m.

Guzman, who is spending the summer in Normal, said she was learning the route to Macy's, where she works.

She added she loves that she'll be able to ride on Sundays.

"I'm still trying to get used to it, but I guess with time I'll catch on," she said of the changes.

• Jeff Stewart of Bloomington, a Connect Transit driver for five years who struggled to change the display on the front of his bus Sunday morning. Interlacing, which uses one bus for two routes consecutively, makes that necessary for drivers on the new routes.

Stewart later shouted for final passengers to get on his bus, which still read "Not in Service" when it left downtown Bloomington with passengers.

"There are a lot of glitches in the electronics," he said.

Stewart added some riders were upset with the new routes and schedules, but riders adjusted quickly to fixed-stop service last fall, and he's optimistic that will happen again.

"I like the change. More time in the routes will help, especially during the winter," he said.

• Terry Craycroft of Bloomington, who boarded the green route around 10 a.m. at Center and Market streets.

Craycroft, who was testing the route to Market Square, said she uses the bus for "everything" and rides at least three times per week.

"The changes worked out pretty well for me," she said. "I'd be lost (without Connect Transit). This is my only form of transportation."

• Richard Greenfield, who boarded the green at 10 a.m. on Front Street. Greenfield, secretary of government relations for ISU's student government, said he was testing routes to see how students will be affected.

"It wasn't explained very well," he said of the route and schedule changes. "This will be my first use."

• Daniel Elder of Bloomington, who said he was testing the route from downtown to his west-side employer.

"(Buses) leave a lot earlier, so I can get to work earlier," he said — 6:15 a.m. instead of 7:30.

• Mott and her son, Shawn, both Bloomington residents who were aboard the purple route at 10:45 a.m.

Michelle said she takes the bus to work as a caretaker at Phoenix Towers, and Shawn said he uses the bus and a bicycle to get to work at Subway at 1602 Glasson St.

"It gives me a headache," he said of the new routes. "I think we can make do."

• Bloomington High School senior Donna Norman, who boarded the purple route around 11:15 a.m. at Oakland Avenue and Clinton Street. She said she was testing the route from home to her mom's and had no opinion of the new routes yet.

Connect Transit Planner Kyle Boehm, who was out Sunday cutting down old route signs, said Monday's launch remained on track.

"It seems like people are getting the hang of it," he said of the new routes.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh


Drag the white bar on this graphic left and right to shift between old and new maps for Connect Transit.


Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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