Transit plan overhaul underway

Transit plan overhaul underway
Source: City of Amarillo
Source: City of Amarillo
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: City of Amarillo
Source: City of Amarillo
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Riding a city bus in Amarillo could soon get you to your destination much faster than it does now.

Over the past two days, city transit staff and an outside consulting firm called The Goodman Corporation have been talking with bus riders about a proposed new bus route system.

Right now Amarillo's public transit covers a lot of ground.

It also has more bus stops than the transit consultants with The Goodman Corporation have ever seen in a city this size.

"The system that we currently have has just slowly grown over the years, just adding more loops and more convoluted service that just covers a big part of Amarillo," said Brett Lawler, Fixed Route Operations Supervisor for the City of Amarillo. "It just takes too long to serve that big of an area."

While the stops are convenient for a lot of people, the time it takes to get across town is not.

Some routes that would take 20 minutes by car take 3 hours by bus with the current route plan.

"That's great! I don't have to walk far for a bus because it's coming by my house. But consequently it's also going by your house and my neighbor's house and the person down the street," said Susan Maclay, Senior Associate with The Goodman Corporation "So it takes a really really long time to get from point A to point B."

The consultants are proposing a system they said will be more efficient and quicker, with fewer stops and more direct routes.

While it will require more walking from bus riders with the proposed fixed route concept, those route times will be cut drastically, in some cases from three hours down to one.

Here are some examples of trip time comparisons between the current route system and the proposed fixed route system:

  • Round trip: AC Washington Campus to AC West Campus 
    • Current route: 3 hours 15 minutes
    • Proposed route: 1 hour 15 minutes 
      • Saves 2 hours
  • Round trip: Northeast Amarillo to Social Security Office
    • Current route: 2 hours 45 minutes
    • Proposed route: 1 hour 45 minutes
      • Saves 1 hour
  • Round trip: North Amarillo to the Walmart at Tascosa Road
    • Current route: 2 hours 15 minutes
    • Proposed route: 1 hour and 30 minutes
      • Saves 45 minutes

City staff said this proposal has gone over well with the bus riders they've spoken with.

Most are willing to walk a little farther to cut down the time they spend on the bus.

Many also want the buses to run later. Currently they stop running at 7 p.m.

"We want to be more efficient for the passengers, we want to be a more reliable service, and we understand that even with the economy we need to be able to get people to work on time, and we need to be able to get them home after they go to work," said Lawler.

One thing that won't happen quickly is the implementation of these changes.

There's a lot of research and more planning to be done before a new route system is chosen and finalized.

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