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TARTA proposes all-day 'lineups' as it trims bus service

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The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority has for decades run its evening and weekend buses using downtown lineups to facilitate connections. Now it’s going to try that during the daytime too.

Effective Jan. 7, the transit system plans to coordinate all of its routes that go downtown to do so at about the same time, while slightly reducing the overall amount of bus service it operates.

Buses will leave the downtown Jackson Street lineup half-hourly during the morning through early lunchtime and during the afternoon rush, according to James Gee, the authority’s general manager.

During the early afternoon hours, when ridership typically tails off, 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. departures will be skipped.

Staging bus lineups all day long “will minimize the wait time in downtown Toledo for any passengers who are transferring and shorten their commute to their final destination,” Mr. Gee said.

Also starting Jan. 7, TARTA’s two East Toledo services and one serving the central city will operate through their looping routes only in a clockwise direction, rather than both ways.

Their current dual numbering will be changed to single numbers to reflect that change: the 12/13 Front/Starr buses will become Route 12; the 11/14 East Broadway/Oak buses will become Route 14, and the 28/30 Indiana/Smead/Oakwood buses will become Route 28.

The weekend East Toledo service, which now carries the unwieldy 11/12/13/14 route number, will simply be called the No. 12.

These and other changes will be the subject of a series of public hearings next week. The first will begin at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the McMaster Family Center at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s Main Library, 325 Michigan St.

The others will be held at the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service headquarters, 130 Knapp St., starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday and 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The schedule changes will reduce TARTA’s total operating time on the routes involved by just over 50 hours per day. Mr. Gee said that’s expected to save the transit authority about $400,000 per year in operating cost.

Along with the daylong lineups and the three route consolidations, several routes will be changed to adjust running times so buses return downtown in time for the lineups.

For example, a loop on Reynolds, Angola, and Wenz roads and Airport Highway that is now part of the 27N Nebraska/South/Reynolds route will be covered after Jan. 7 by the 32H South/Airport buses.

“We’re adjusting routes for reliability,” Mr. Gee said, in part because having lineups all day “makes on-time performance really critical for us.”

The service time for the Maumee/Waterville Call-a-Ride, meanwhile, will be lengthened by an hour each day, running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. instead of starting at 9 a.m.

The additional hour is expected to make the Waterville bus more useful for work trips, Mr. Gee said.

Service during the evening, weekend, and holiday lineup periods will be mostly unchanged with 80-minute headways.

Some weekend buses make their only downtown stop in the Jackson lineup, rather than circling the entire downtown bus loop. But Mr. Gee said that during the weekday lineups, those routes will serve the entire loop rather than stopping only on Jackson.

Contact David Patch at dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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