AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo's transit system is on the verge of changes the city says will better serve those who use it.
People who use any of the Amarillo's transit options may soon find their commute time shortened thanks to expanded bus routes.
Before this master plan goes into effect, the city's transit department wants to make sure the public knows about these changes.
Currently, the city has eight routes that the transit department says aren't as efficient as they can be.
"We will be reducing the amount of travel time for people because we will create 13 routes," said Marita Wellage-Reiley, Transit Director for the City of Amarillo. "They will be much more direct and will go into downtown either at a 45 minute frequency or a 60 minute frequency."
With this new schedule, service will be operating earlier and later so people can get to work on time and not rush to catch the bus when they get off.
All the routes will now have a grocery store within reach.
"The routes that now serve the North Heights will get people out to the Tascosa Road Mall," said Wellage-Reiley. "So we have what we call the ice cream test, we want to keep the ride time short enough, so that if you get ice cream at the grocery store you can get home before it melts."
Another planned route is one that will operate strictly in the hospital district and offer an on-demand option.
"It will circulate and get people from the veterans hospital to pharmacies or to get into Westgate Mall," said Wellage-Reiley. "Students who go to Amarillo College West, they can get to the mall and catch other buses, go for lunch."
In order for these new routes to begin, the city must hire more bus operators.
"It will take us eight weeks," said Wellage-Reiley. "Once we get to a point where we're certain that we'll have enough highly trained bus operators, then we'll flip the switch. So if anyone is out there is interested in driving for Amarillo City transit, please come see us."
To make this transition as smooth as possible, transit will be hosting public meetings where the community can find out how these new routes can best serve their needs.