To increase frequency along corridors of high demand, MTD provides Hopper service on four different routes. Hopper trips increase the frequency of their parent routes while also providing more opportunities for transferring. Consider this post a 101 course in MTD Hopper service.
First Things First
Let’s begin with introductions. Meet the MTD Hoppers: Yasmine, George, Oscar, Olivia, and Gizmo. All Hoppers operate year-round. Yasmine is the YELLOWhopper and operates during the weekday daytime only. George represents the GREENhopper which operates during the weekday daytime, weekday evening, and Saturday evening. Oscar and Olivia, the kids of the bunch, are found on the ORANGEhopper. The twins represent the doubled service to Champaign-Urbana’s two hospitals, Carle and Presence, during the weekday daytime. Last is Gizmo and he represents the GOLDhopper which also operates during the weekday daytime only.
Why does MTD have Hoppers? The short answer can be given in two words: frequency and connection. But this is a blog post so we’ll also give you the long answer as explained in our Maps & Schedules Book:
Hoppers primarily connect downtown Champaign, downtown Urbana, and the University of Illinois. High-frequency service makes it quick and easy to get to work, entertainment, medical, dining, and academic destinations in the downtowns, on campus, and all places in between.
Hopper trips cover the most heavily utilized portions of their parent route, but not the full west/east or north/south portions. This allows MTD to provide more service to the places of greatest demand.
Passengers should know the difference between the Hoppers and their parent route. You may be able to catch both the regular route and the Hopper counterpart to get to and from your desired destinations. But if you can’t, you will need to make a distinction and the destination sign of the bus is key.
To distinguish the parent route from its shortened Hopper route, look for the “hopper” designation on the destination sign. Clarification is also provided in the destination sign for Hopper trips that offer alternative end points like on the YELLOWhopper and GREENhopper. You can also view the trip differences in MTD’s STOPwatch real-time data which is available on our website, API (which powers developer-made apps), and on our mobile website. The route schedules also highlight and detail Hopper trips.
The 1 YELLOWhopper operates on weekdays between Illinois Terminal and Gerty & Griffith or Illinois Terminal and Lot E-14 depending on the trip. The full 1 Yellow operates between the Champaign Walmart and the Savoy Walmart. The distinction between the regular Yellow and the YELLOWhopper, as well as whether it ends at Gerty & Griffith or Lot E-14, can be gleaned from the destination sign of the bus. It also detailed in the Yellow schedule. The full Yellow runs every 30 minutes, but with the added trips of the YELLOWhopper, passengers can get service every 10 minutes.
The 5 GREENhopper operates on weekdays between Washington & Lierman and Fieldstone at Horizon Hobby. The full 5 Green weekday serves the Main & Brady area and the neighborhoods around John & Goldenview with 30 minute frequency. When the Hopper trips are added, passengers riding within GREENhopper and regular Green boundaries have 15 minute frequency. The weekday evening GREENhopper operates between Sunnycrest and Parkland College. The Saturday evening GREENhopper operates between Sunnycrest and Country Fair. George the GREENhopper has the distinction of being the only Hopper to operate outside of weekday daytime service.
The 6 ORANGEhopper operates during the weekday daytime between Illinois Terminal and Lincoln Square or Illinois Terminal and University & Cottage Grove – near MTD’s Administration & Operations Facility. The regular 6 Orange operates between Butzow & Lierman and Country Fair with approximately 30 minute frequency. Thanks to the ORANGEhopper, passengers riding between Illinois Terminal and Lincoln Square get an Orange bus every 15 minutes.
The 10 GOLDhopper operates between Lincoln Square and Lot E-14 during the weekday daytime. Passengers requiring the full Gold have 30 minute service but those riding in the GOLDhopper area can grab a bus every 10 minutes. The full Gold operates between Highcross & Kyle in northeast Urbana and the Mattis & Devonshire area in Champaign.
1. Reference a schedule to make sure the trip you’re taking is going where you want it to go. A majority of Hopper trips will act as summarized above. But to ensure your trip gets you where you need to go and when, do yourself a favor and check a paper or web schedule. You can also give us a call at 217.384.8188 and we’ll do it for you.
2. Know the difference between a designated stop and an iStop. All Hoppers operate along corridors with designated stops and/or iStops. This means that you can only board/alight at specified stops. Know your stops! The YELLOWhopper operates along an iStop corridor, which means passengers do not have to show an iCard, Annual/Monthly MTD Pass, or pay a fare at select stops. Just board and go! The GREENhopper only has designated stops, which means passengers must show their iCard, Annual/Monthly MTD Pass, or pay a fare upon boarding. The ORANGEhopper operates the same way. Gizmo the GOLDhopper is special as he features both designated stops and iStops. The different stops are clearly marked on the Gold route map and all other route maps.
3. Follow the striping. Hoppers are marked on system maps and individual route maps with two colored striping. This helps distinguish Hopper service paths from their parent route. The YELLOWhopper and the GREENhopper take on their own service paths, so follow the striping to make clear where the Hopper is going. The ORANGEhopper and the GOLDhopper follow their parent routing without deviation.
Was this guide helpful? Got a “what’s a…” question about a different service aspect? Let us know in the comments!