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Grand Forks city council looks at new bus routes

Grand Forks City Hall

The Grand Forks City Council got its first look at new bus routes during a committee meeting Monday night. The Metropolitan Planning Organization and Cities Area Transit, which have been restructuring the new routes together, hope to have everything up and running by July 16, with council approval next week.

Ultimately, CAT and the MPO would like to increase ridership on buses in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks by adding more direct routes, a second centralized transfer stop at Grand Cities Mall and more buses during peak hours.

City mobility manager Ali Rood told the story of a bus system that was not able to keep up with city growth over the last 30 years.

"It's time to make a structural change," Rood told the city, "because this community has changed so much, and this system has not."

Since the groups' proposal on April 9, Rood said CAT has been engaged with the public about how to improve routes for everyone. It has hosted a series of open houses and meetings at places like the Veterans Network and English as a second language classes, and there was a period between April and May when they solicited feedback online.

What they learned, Rood told the council, was that fewer people were riding the buses because of longer wait times and longer bus rides. "Which means that people aren't getting to the places they need to on time," Rood said.

According to a slide presentation from Rood and Teri Kouba of MPO, CAT plans on adding three new bus operators and two new buses, one from East Grand Forks and another from a pending request to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

Emily Allen

Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at eallen@gfherald.com or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.

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