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BUS service to the Village of Sturtevant could expand under a proposal from the City of Racine to make it more available to residents and help trustees feel more comfortable with funding the service for another year.
Board members Tuesday listened to a presentation about routes, costs, and ridership from Michael Maierle, city transit and parking system manager.
Currently there are two routes – the 27 daytime and the 20 commuter – that run through Sturtevant, primarily down Washington Avenue. The 27 includes 10 hourly runs between Regency Mall and points in Sturtevant, and the 20 is a commuter line with six runs per day between the Corrine Reid Transit Center on State Street and various commercial stops in the village.
Under Maierle’s proposal, the 27 route, instead of circling back through the Renaissance Business Park would continue south from Gateway/iMet to United Natural Foods and then west on Durand Avenue back to the mall with potential stops in the Menards/Walmart/Goodwill area. Another option would be to extend Route 7 down Durand Avenue from where it turns around at Walmart during non-peak hours and use on Saturdays.
In a nutshell, approximately 53 ride the bus into or out of Sturtevant each day for a total of 107 trip ends, the measure Maierle uses to determine usage, and it costs the village $1.56 per trip end.
“If a rider boards in the city and travels to the DMV or to Goodwill, that’s one trip end, and the village has chipped in $1.56 for that trip,” he explained.
Trustee Chris Wright said he’s concerned with how the costs are shared because the community from where a ride originates should pay for that trip, but he also said he could get behind Maierle’s plan to expand Route 27.
“The BUS has to go where residents live, so I’m glad we have a good option to consider,” he stated.
They also heard comments from representatives from Goodwill and a commercial real estate outfit about the importance of companies having access to the local workforce, including public transportation for those without a car.
“We have a pretty good pulse on the market, and one of the first questions we’re asked by clients is about access to the local workforce,” Chelsea Couette from Zilber Real Estate said. “(Clients) stress public transportation because access to the business park is imperative.”
Board member Mark Villalpando is a captain with the Racine Fire Department and said he used to ride the BUS because it was easy to catch it on Durand Avenue and get off a block or two away from the firehouse.
“I used to the ride the bus, so I’m happy with the loop proposal because then we’re covering nearly the whole village,” he added. “I’d be happy to look at how this works for the next year and then look at ridership and go from there.”
No decisions were made Tuesday, but the 2017 village budget remains under discussion. Approval and adoption of the budget typically occurs in November.