Thursday June 07, 2018
Green Mountain Transit (GMT), the regional public transit system providing bus service in Chittenden County, has announced the results of their comprehensive service analysis, which includes recommendations that would affect South Burlington commuters. GMT, formerly known as CCTA (Chittenden County Transportation Authority), serves the communities of South Burlington, Burlington, Essex, Shelburne, Williston, Winooski, Milton, Hinesburg, and a portion of Colchester. Their LINK Express routes serve Montpelier, Middlebury, and St. Albans commuters. GMT is considered a municipality and is the first and only transit authority in the State of Vermont.
GMT reports that their NextGen Comprehensive Service Analysis will improve service throughout the system, helping to identify ways to better match service with current needs and to make service simpler, more direct, faster, and more convenient for current and future users. This is the first time that GMT has conducted a comprehensive effort of this type and they are seeking public feedback. Their analysis has produced many recommendations, which will affect how routes are numbered and how service schedules are timed. Public input has been collected over the past year and is still welcome. GMT notes, “These are proposed changes only,” adding, “the suggested changes will work through the regular public hearing process before any are enacted. Now is the time to weigh in if you have comments.”
The highlights of the recommendations for city commuters include small suggested changes to the commuter Routes 46, 76, and 86 that travel through South Burlington; these proposals include adjusting morning start times and peak hour configuration to alleviate overcrowding. More substantive suggestions are recommended for Routes 1, 2, 6, and Route 12.
Route 1 runs along U.S. Route 2 from Burlington to University Mall and then on to Taft Corners and Walmart with regular seven-day service. According to GMT, it is very popular, ranking second in ridership of all their routes. The report recommends combining Route 1 with Route 7—North Avenue in Burlington. To create greater schedule consistency and route efficiency, the report recommends running Route 1 every 20 minutes. This would be instead of every 30 minutes midday and every 15 minutes during peak times. The report also recommends increasing service to every 60 minutes in late evenings and on Sundays.
The report also recommends the consolidation of Route 6, serving Shelburne Road, with Route 2, serving Essex Junction, including the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center, Saint Michael’s College, Global Foundries, and the Amtrak train station. Service would be increased to every 20 minutes weekdays, every 30 minutes on Saturdays, and would add 60-minute Sunday service.
Route 12 has been an exclusively South Burlington circular route serving the University Mall, Kennedy Drive, and the airport. The report recommends consolidating this service with Route 11, which serves the UVM central campus and College Street stops in downtown Burlington, maintaining most of the same geographic coverage and stops but reducing the amount of transfers for passengers. According to GMT, this would allow riders of Route 12 to go directly from any stop in South Burlington to downtown Burlington with more regularity and higher service frequency. Included in the recommendations is some discontinued service to Community Drive, Hinesburg Road between Route 2 and Kennedy Drive, Country Park in South Burlington, as well as service to the Waldorf Elementary School in Shelburne.
Thomas Chittenden, who serves as vice chair of the Green Mountain Transit Board of Commissioners and as a South Burlington city councilor, encourages riders to provide input at this time. “Re-calibrating our bus routes is an important thing to do to align our services with the evolving needs of the community - this system wide analysis has been an extensive, well-considered and well-executed public process. I hope many more South Burlington residents offer more feedback as this effort continues,” said Chittenden.
To read the NextGen analysis, visit ridegmt.com. To share opinions, visit http://ridegmt.com/study-feedback/, scrolling to the bottom of the page to leave a comment. Citizens also can email their South Burlington GMT representatives on the city council, Thomas Chittenden at firstname.lastname@example.org and Tim Barritt at email@example.com.