Madison Metro is looking for feedback on its proposed changes to routes in southwest Madison, Middleton and Fitchburg.
Madison Metro spokesperson Nick Rusch said the adjustments this year aren’t as sweeping as they have been in years past. The changes are part of an annual reallocation of services to better serve riders.
“If people don't mention it to us or we don't see a lot of ridership on it, that's what we try to do is try to adjust things with the lowest ridership on it,” Rusch said.
One of the original proposals to eliminate service to the Nobel Drive loop and Gilson Street/Olin Avenue loop has already been reversed, Rusch said. He said even before a public hearing Wednesday night, Madison Metro had received numerous comments pushing to maintain those routes.
“We do know that people are on these routes and they're all individual people that have places to go and depend on our service,” Rusch said, “So we need to try to figure out the balancing act of adjusting and making our budget work and serving as many people as we possibly can.”
Other commuters at Wednesday’s public hearing were worried about their routes that lead to work outside of the city. They told the Transit and Parking Commission and representatives of Madison Metro that the changes would have an impact on the duration of their ride.
“I'm concerned that while this set of proposed route changes doesn't entirely remove service from the places that I need to get to, it does complicate it. It does increase the amount of trip time,” Carl Schroedl said.
“I understand that the budgets are constrained and this is a difficult thing, but just wanted to go on the record saying that I would actually ride the bus more often if there was a little more flexibility,” Mike Fienen said.
Rusch said not everything is about cutbacks. Madison Metro is investing $20,000 in Route 50, which runs along Whitney Way and Raymond Road. Starting in August, buses will run every half hour instead of hourly, and they will all travel in the same direction to make things less complicated for riders.
Rusch said Madison Metro is accepting feedback through May via firstname.lastname@example.org, online, or at 608-266-4466.