Connect Transit ridership revenue increased every year from 2009 through 2015. In 2016, Connect Transit extended the daily hours of fixed scheduled service and added Sunday and holiday service, while making bus route changes that reduced the riders’ convenience.
The results? Annual operational costs increased, ridership revenue decreased, local taxpayer subsidy increased about $1,000,000, with more bus miles and associated air pollution. Ridership revenue for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 are below 2015’s revenue.
These outcomes are the result of Connect Transit making operational changes that ignored that rider convenience. It's a major factor when considering the mode of transportation, especially when preponderance of the riders have physical mobility challenges or cannot afford vehicles.
Connect Transit decided to operate larger buses, which necessitated moving the bus stops further from the entrances to apartment complexes, trailer parks, medical service providers, government assistance agencies and shopping areas. Whether physically challenged or not, the result is that all riders find themselves traversing longer distances across parking lots, streets, areas with no sidewalks, and frequently in extreme weather conditions such as snow, cold, wind, rain, and heat.
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Additionally, low-cost convenient door-to-door ride services entered the local transportation market.
Connect Transit officials attempt to justify the current service by stating that their mandate is make bus transportation available to all B-N residents, rather than focusing on their customer base that needs and uses convenient bus transportation as well as the recent ride service competition.
Ronald Ulmer, Normal