August 28, 2015
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Community Outreach Fun

MTD takes time throughout the year to attend community events. We take every opportunity to staff a booth, answer questions, listen to feedback, distribute rider information, and give away fun and useful items! Already this spring/summer we attended touch-a-trucks, safety events, new student orientations, senior resource fairs, and more.

August hosts three of our favorite events; the Taste of Champaign-Urbana, Quad Day, and the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival are all top gear community favorites. Last weekend, MTD hosted a booth at both the Taste of C-U and Quad Day. Did we miss you? Be sure to visit us at the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival this Friday and Saturday, August 28 and 29. And remember, the main downtown Urbana streets (including Main, Elm, and Race Streets) will be closed all day Friday and Saturday. MTD’s Lincoln Square bus stops will be relocated to Illinois Street, just south of Lincoln Square Mall.

Taste of Champaign-Urbana

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MTD’s Marketing Mobile was out in style on the southwest section of West Side Park. Thanks to all of our visitors!

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Taste of CU celebrates artists and foodies. Since these bus erasers are not edible, we thought we’d contribute to the art scene. We originally shared this picture on our Instagram account @cumtdbus.

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MTD’s Chief Operating Officer Bryan Smith, left, and our Assistant Operations Director Randy Fouts, right, explain MTD’s free rides for seniors program.

Quad Day

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Thousands of students flood the Quad and we’re so happy for the opportunity to get them bus ready. Thanks to the over 4,000 people who visited our booth!

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We had thousands of copies of our 2015-2016 Maps & Schedules Book, a quick guide to campus service, info about our apps, and more.

"quad day" "cumtd" "bus" "information" "maps and schedules" "bus erasers"

20 MTD employees worked throughout the day to keep our Quad Day booth running like a well-oiled machine.

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Behind the booth was organized chaos! It was a race to get the goods in the hands of the students AFAP! #gottagetthere

Did we chat with you at the Taste of Champaign-Urbana or at Quad Day? Will we see you at the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival? Share your experience in the comments.

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A New Service Year, A New School Year

"2015-2016" "maps and schedules book" "mtd" "bus" "church st" "stopwatch kiosk" "bus shelter" "white street"

Welcome to our new service year! We’re looking forward to another great year of public transportation in Chambana!

It’s August 17, which means we are officially one day into our 2015-2016 service year! Welcome to our new year and a new school year.

In brief, the routes that were tweaked include the 1/100 Yellow, which changed routing slightly in Savoy. The 2/20U Red now serves the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on every southbound trip. The 5 GREENhopper will serve Parkland College instead of Fieldstone at Horizon Hobby which is now served by the 16 Pink. The 6 Orange no longer operates on Camp Drive but stays on Church to Country Fair to University. The 7 Grey, 9A Brown, and 9B Brown now operate independent schedules but travel the same routing; the removal of these routes “interlining” resulted in timetable changes as well. The 16 Pink is operating an expanded route with an A and B clockwise and counterclockwise service that both operate every 45 minutes. The 21 Raven is a new campus route operating every 30 minutes, weekdays only, with service to Vet-Med instead of the 13 Silver. The final day of the 27/270 Air Bus operation will be Monday, August 31.

This covers the significant changes but we encourage a review of your specific route and trip before riding in the new service year. Last week’s blog post also covered the new service year.

University of Illinois

Speaking of last week’s post, we promised an overview of the returning UI service. These services will return at the start of the Friday, August 21 service day.

  • 2 Red Express trips, marked with “L” and “U” footnotes, return to add frequency on campus.
  • 12 Teal: Trips marked with “U” footnotes return, which brings the frequency back up to every 10 minutes.
  • 13 Silver: Trips marked with “U’ footnotes are back and increase the frequency to every 10 minutes. The full 130 Silver will operate on the evenings and weekends. Note that the 130 Silver continues to serve Vet-Med.
  • 22/220 Illini: No more limited routing, no more limited frequency. The full Illini route with 10 minute frequencies is back for weekday daytime, weekday evening, Saturday evening, and Sunday evening service!
  • Late Night (after midnight): Five MTD routes offer trips after midnight and those trips will return Friday night (Saturday morning). The routes are the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini.
  • 335 SafeRides: The van service designed to provide safe transportation for people traveling alone at night will also return on Friday. New to the service? Make sure to read the rules and this blog post is helpful, too.

Welcome to new students, faculty, and staff and welcome back to the veterans! MTD will be at this Sunday’s Quad Day (August 23). We’ll have all the goods to get you on the road to easy riding.

"parkland college" "bus stop" "maps and schedules" "stopwatch kiosk" "student union"

Parkland College will now see the 5 GREENhopper and 16 Pink pull into the Student Union Bus Stop!

Parkland College

Parkland College students and staff have significant service expansions to look forward to this year. All the weekday daytime service from years past remains (7 Grey, 9A Brown, 9B Brown), but now Cobras can look for the 5 GREENhopper every 30 minutes along with the 16 Pink every 45 minutes.

Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana District 116

MTD transports Champaign and Urbana middle and high school students who are not within walking distance of their school and live in our operating District.

MTD divides our school transport service by zones for each middle and high school. You can view the zones in detail on the middle right section of our Maps & Schedules website page. MTD can look up which zone your family is in, and subsequently what their transport will be to and from school, if you need assistance. School administration should provide this information to each household that qualifies for MTD service. MTD does not have access to individual names and addresses.

A sticker will be applied to each student’s ID who qualifies for MTD service. The stickers indicate which bus the student is assigned to ride. This helps the operator and the student confirm the student is riding the correct route. So please be ready to show your student ID upon boarding!

Come Visit Us

MTD will be at Taste of Champaign-Urbana (August 21 and 22) and the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival (August 28 and 29). We’ll have copies of the new Maps & Schedules Book, rider information and tools, and of course those cute bus erasers. MTD staff will be happy to answer your questions and hear your feedback.

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2015-2016 MTD Service Year


CUMTD, MTD, 2015-2016, service, green street, construction

2015-2016 Maps & Schedules Book


The first day of MTD’s 2015-2016 service year is this Sunday, August 16. The updated Maps & Schedules Book is available beginning today on our buses and at Illinois Terminal.

Routes Affected

MTD collects data and feedback throughout the year. Based on performance and demand, we propose service improvements in late May/early June at a public hearing. After collecting input and approval from our Board of Trustees, MTD Staff work throughout the summer to prepare all facets of our internal and external information with the new service improvements.

We summarized service changes and bus pass increases in this post we published in May. That post covers which routes and/or schedules are changing and why. You can download a pdf of the entire 2015-2016 Maps & Schedules book. Just look for the link in the Maps and Schedules section of our website.

Routes with the most significant changes include the 5 Green, 7 Grey, 9A/9B Brown, 16 Pink, and, of course, the brand new 21 Raven. There were some additional timetable and routing tweaks as well, so please be sure to take a peek at your route(s) to check the changes prior to August 16.

Passenger Resources and Tools

The full 175-page Maps & Schedules book can be a bit intimidating. Our Trip Planner is loaded with data for our current service year as well as the new data for the upcoming year. So enter a starting and ending destination (address, intersection, or landmark), set the date for August 16 or later, and see how your trips will operate.

MTD has also been hard at work to update passenger information on the street. Shelter boards have been updated and reprinted for all of our 100 plus shelters. We’re also ready to update all necessary bus stop signs with proper “routes serving” information. Six days of our current service year remain, so our Maintenance Department is slowly posting the new information to reduce confusion. If you see inaccurate signage after August 16, please let us know!

CUMTD, MTD, bus, Country Fair,  STOPwatch kiosk

Connections will increase at Country Fair thanks to the exoanded 16 Pink.

 The community-built apps are fueled by MTD’s API (application programming interface) and will be processing updated route and schedule information. Search for an app that fits your preferences in our App Garage. You can also look up bus departure times for any stop across the District on our mobile site,

And sometimes you just want to talk to a human. We get that, too. Anytime MTD has service on the street, there are people answering the phones. You can call 217.384.8188 for route and schedule information, trip planning, bus riding 101, and whatever other public transportation questions you have.

The Customer Service Center at Illinois Terminal is open seven days a week. The staff there can also help you with route and schedule information as well as help you purchase an Annual or Monthly Pass. Speaking of passes, our rates are going up on September 1. Annual Passes will be $84 and Monthly Passes will be $20.

University, College, and Middle and High School

The first day of classes at the University of Illinois and Parkland College is Monday, August 24. But the legendary UI move-in week begins next Tuesday, August 18 and continues to accelerate throughout the week. MTD will reroute some of our service to avoid the dorms on Thursday, August 20. This is the official University Housing Move-In Day. MTD will lift summer service reductions on Friday, August 21. In next week’s post, we’ll cover the returning services in detail.

Parkland College affiliates should note that beginning Monday, August 17, the 7 Grey, 9A Brown, and 9B Brown will no longer interline and change into one another at Parkland. Their routes and schedules will operate independently. More service is in store as the expanded 16 Pink will now serve Parkland, too, along with the altered 5W GREENhopper. Honks for more service!

But before these fall semesters begin, the local Champaign Unit 4 and Urbana School District 116 students will return to the classroom next week. MTD contracts with both school districts to provide transportation for their middle and high school students. School trips are detailed in our weekday daytime routes with footnotes. You can also view maps of service zones for each school.

Happy new service year and thanks for riding! Please share your questions, comments, and feedback below.

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Green Light: Two MTD Facilities Certified

"ESMS" "MTD" "CUMTD" "ISO 14001" "certified"

MTD was certified in ISO 14001:2004 for our Environmental and Sustainability Management System

Last month MTD completed our annual third-party audit for ISO 14001 Certification. After four full days of facility visits, documentation review, and employee interviews, the auditor approved continuation of ISO 14001 Certification of the MTD Maintenance Facility’s Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS).

Not only did MTD’s Maintenance Facility qualify to continue its ISO 14001 Certification, but Illinois Terminal was added to the list of certified facilities as well. We blogged about our decision to expand the scope of our ESMS to include Illinois Terminal back in March.


Words from the auditor to describe MTD’s environmental achievements:

The Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) developed for the Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District’s Maintenance Facility continues to effectively address the requirements of the Standard based on the results of this two day surveillance visit by a single qualified assessor. In addition, a two day change to approval visit reviewing the implementation of the ESMS at the Illinois Terminal demonstrated an effective incorporation of activities there. It is recommended that CUMTD should continue to be certified to the Standard with the inclusion of the Illinois Terminal.

The audit that occurred last month is considered to be MTD’s second surveillance audit which marks the end of our three-year certification period. Next year MTD will begin another three-year certification period. The beginning of a new certification period is an opportunity to take a step back and prove the success of our system once again.


"ESMS" "auditor" "ISO 14001" "Illinois Terminal"

The ESMS Auditor, right, surveys Illinois Terminal with its Manager, left.

One of the elements that the auditor observes at the annual visit is how the organization manages change. There are a few changes around the corner to which MTD will respond.

With the expansion of MTD’s Maintenance Facility there will be small changes to the scope of that facility’s ESMS. While there will not be any new activities occurring in the expanded space, additional employees will interact with the facility and therefore will need to be appropriately trained in accordance with the ESMS.

Additionally, the ISO 14001:2004 Standard is being revised. A new Standard (known as ISO 14001:2015) will take its place. The 2015 version of the Standard is expected in September 2015 at which point certified agencies will begin a transition process. Organizations that are already certified to the ISO 14001:2004 Standard, such as MTD, are granted a three-year transition period after the revision has been published to migrate their ESMS to the new edition of the standard.

MTD’s ISO 14001 Certification for the Maintenance Facility and Illinois Terminal is one of the many ways we hold ourselves accountable for the environmental impacts of our services.

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MTD Cleans Up Main Street

Earlier this summer, we reported on the status of MTD’s participation in the Adopt Urbana program. This post covered our commitment to the program as well as our recent adoption of Main Street between Vine Street and Glover Avenue. Our first cleanup of the season was scheduled for June 17 but was cancelled due to rain. Thus, we were excited to have good conditions for our re-scheduled cleanup on Tuesday, July 21.

MTD employees and family members enjoyed getting to know our new adopted roadway. Some were experienced parents and had participated in cleanups of our previous roadway on Windsor Road, and some were parenting for the first time!

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The MTD volunteers from the July 2015 Adopt Urbana clean up.

It took our crew of a dozen people about an hour to cover the .6 mile roadway. The City of Urbana provides the bags and rubber gloves while MTD provides employees the safety vests and grabbers. Thanks to the City of Urbana for organizing Adopt Urbana and for providing the opportunity care for the community we serve.

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MTD adopted Main Street in Urbana between Vine and Glover.

Is your business or group interested in Adopting Urbana? Learn more about the program and the commitment expected of parents. If you’re already participating, let us know in the comments below!

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Secretary of State Audit

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There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes before you see an operator driving your route solo.

MTD’s training program is robust and ongoing. A significant piece is the execution and maintenance of our Third-Party Certification for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) from the Illinois Secretary of State. This certification enables members of MTD’s Safety and Training Department to train new employees for permits as well as to issue Class A and B licenses.

The Secretary of State’s CDL License Examining Division certifies MTD’s CDL Training Course and Road Test Route. To ensure its third-party certifiers are maintaining a high level of quality as well as adherence to the latest regulations, the Secretary of State CDL License Examiners conduct an audit with our Safety and Training Director twice a year. The Secretary of State Auditors do not schedule these meetings. Their method of surprise and review seeks to maintain agency credibility. MTD’s last on-site audit was July 7, 2015.

We blogged about this audit in October 2011. That post focused on the history and the review of individuals certified by MTD in the preceding six months. Here we’ll focus on the documentation.

Records, Records, Records

The Secretary of State auditors check the preceding six months of records for all CDL third party certifications completed by MTD’s certified instructors. The records include the copy of “green forms” for each trainee, copies of CDL Permits (which require passage of three tests at a Division of Motor Vehicle facility), CDL score sheet (pre-trip test, air brakes test, skills test, and road test), and copies of employee ID cards and Illinois licenses.

MTD’s Safety and Training Director, Adam Shanks, is responsible for maintaining these records. “We certify about 15 new operators and maintenance employees every six months,” says Shanks. “So every time the auditor shows up, I need to have all that documentation prepared and presentable.”

Shanks hopes to increase the number of graduating trainees to 25 every six months or about 50 a year. The certified bus operators get a Class B license and maintenance technicians and service workers get a Class A. The Class B is for operators of a single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. The Class A is defined by a combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds. Maintenance employees get a Class A because they are responsible for towing buses.

“When the State shows up you say, ‘oh, hello and here you go!'” Shanks says. “The entire audit usually takes about two hours.”

Thanks to Shanks and his department’s top notch record keeping, MTD passed the audit with zero findings!

Keeping on the Up and Up

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MTD uses a portion of our Maintenance Facility for our certified CDL training lot.

Work is ongoing to keep MTD’s Third Party Certification up-to-date and in compliance. The Safety and Training Director is responsible for reporting each employee termination/resignation along with a packet of supporting documentation. This helps the Secretary of State ensure that all CDL holders are valid and accounted for.

Beginning July 1, the Secretary of State altered the test requirements for both Class A and Class B CDL license tests. The pre-trip inspection test and the air brakes tests remain the same, but the skills tests were completely changed.

Shanks and his three certified trainers went to Springfield earlier in the summer to receive training on the updates. All four passed the necessary training to maintain their certification.

“We all learned the new testing and supporting training as well as how to use the new scoring sheet,” said Shanks.

While MTD’s certifiers are ready, our testing lot needs to be recertified to the new standards before any licenses can be issued. “So once the State comes up and certifies our skills test lot, we’ll be good to go!” Shanks said.

Along with the new skills, additional requirements were added to increase the demands on certifiers. First, they must certify at least ten people each year in order to maintain their certifying license. Second, the certifier who provided the training cannot be the same certifier who issues the test. Neither of these new requirements are difficult to meet.

“We’ll just have to add these two variables to our training records,” said Shanks.

Congratulations to the Safety and Training Department for another successful audit and good luck with the adjustments!

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Mental Health First Aid Training

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.”

Bill Clinton

It is common to sign up for a first aid course. Maybe it’s a work requirement or perhaps you want to be able to respond to a medical emergency. First aid kits are stocked and posters are hung with information.

These skills and knowledge prepare individuals to respond to a medical emergency and hopefully reduce the severity. But what about ailments of the mind?

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Community Elements is training 36 MTD Staff in Mental Health First Aid.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) aims to “teach members of the public how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress.” (Mental Health First Aid USA)

MTD’s vehicles see, on average, nearly 60,000 passengers on a weekday. Illinois Terminal looks after hundreds of visitors in the summer and when the University is in session those numbers jump to the thousands. The opportunities to respond and support individuals experiencing a physical or mental crisis are ubiquitous.

Thanks to certified trainers from Community Elements, 36 MTD staff will complete the eight hour MHFA training. Operations Staff include our Supervisors, members of Safety and Training, as well as our Planners and Operations Director and Assistant Operations Director. Illinois Terminal’s Manager is enrolled along with Illinois Terminal’s Security and Customer Service team.

I took the course last Friday, July 10. As the Customer Service Manager, I found the training valuable in developing our organized responses as well as guiding future training.

Mental Disorder

When does a mental obstacle transcend into disorder? We all have bad and good days and experience emotions like sadness and worry. But when do behaviors warrant a higher level of concern? Why and when is MHFA training helpful?

mental disorder or mental illness is a “diagnosable illness that affects a person’s thinking, emotional state, and behavior and disrupts the person’s ability to work or carry out other daily activities and engage in satisfying personal relationships.” (Mental Health First Aid USA)

Mental health disorders, like medical disorders, are diagnosable. Symptoms for the disorder last for more than two weeks and in the case of trauma, over four weeks. The trainers stressed these basics throughout the course. There are common variants of anxiety and depression that are a part of being human. But then there is anxiety and depression that disrupts all aspects of a person’s life. So how to respond?


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A brainstorm of an A to Z list of depression symptoms.

The course is structured around the acronym, ALGEE, which provides a guide to responding to an individual with a mental health need. The trainers would educate the class on a disorder then we’d return to the ALGEE acronym to practice a response.

A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm

L: Listen nonjudgmentally

G: Give reassurance and information

E: Encourage appropriate professional help

E: Encourage self-help and other support strategies

The repeating message was you, first responder, are not responsible for filling the role of mental health professional. An MHFA administer provides assistance to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Mental Health Statistics and Local Resources

The stigma surrounding mental health as well as the lack of education prevents, experts believe, individuals from seeking the help they need. In the United States, only 41% of people with a mental illness use mental health services in any given year.

It is estimated that one in five adults has a mental disorder in any given year in the United States. Anxiety disorders afflict the most adults with an estimated 19.1% of the general American population. Major depressive disorder comes in second with 6.8% of U.S. adults. Substance use is third with 8%, bipolar disorders is next with 2.8%, and eating disorders follow closely behind with 2.1%.

Additionally, it is common for mental disorders to occur in combination. Of the 26.2% of U.S. adults with any mental disorder in a one-year period, just 14.4% have one disorder. This leaves 5.8% who suffer from two disorders and 6.3% who have three or more.

Community Elements has two facilities that offer a range of services and treatments. One facility is located at 1801 Fox Drive and the second is in downtown Champaign at 801 North Walnut.

There is a Champaign chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) that organizes regular support groups and get-togethers.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) has an Urbana Champaign Chapter of peer-led mental health support groups.

MTD staff thank Community Elements for offering this training. After Friday’s session, several staff said they would feel much more comfortable approaching an individual experiencing a crisis. Others said they appreciated all they learned about mental health in general and felt empowered to assist their family, friends, and coworkers.

Is your organization trained in Mental Health First Aid? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Green Light: Environmental System Audit

This time last year, we blogged about this very same audit for our ISO 14001:2004 certified Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS). And as that post detailed:

MTD’s ISO 14001:2004 certification is “good” for three years. Part of the certification agreement is annual auditing to ensure we are still adhering to the International Standard. Because the ESMS MTD created had never been certified, MTD’s ESMS Team underwent three audits [in the first year]…[and] for years two and three, MTD will only undergo one audit per year. We are scheduled for Surveillance Audits in July 2014 and July 2015.

So what’s on the agenda for our final surveillance audit?

Maintenance Facility

In Green Lights past, we’ve covered the significant aspects we identified and targeted for our ESMS. An aspect is an element of our organization’s activities, products, or services that has the potential to interact with the environment. Therefore a significant aspect is one that has or can have a, you guessed it, significant environmental impact.

Shop Batteries

MTD’s Maintenance Department recycles just about everything possible. This includes burnable oil, fluorescent light bulbs, ink cartridges, small electronics, Freon, and batteries.

We recently identified our battery recycling as something that can be improved upon. Batteries are used in the Maintenance Facility to power flashlights, power-tools, and other equipment. Even though we are diligently recycling this material, waste is still created. We have established the goal to replace all single-use batteries with rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries can be reused multiple times and are much less wasteful. This means less of an environmental impact for MTD’s operations.

Renewable Energy

A 296.94 kilowatt solar array was installed on MTD’s Maintenance Facility in early 2014 and went online in August 2014. Our goal is to replace 25% of the Maintenance Facility’s energy consumption with solar energy generated on site.

As of June 2015, MTD had decreased this facility’s non-renewable energy usage by 30% since September 2014! See how much energy the solar array is producing in real-time.

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This chart displays our Maintenance Facility’s total energy consumption – both non-renewable and renewable.

Illinois Terminal

We announced on the blog earlier this year that work was in motion to add Illinois Terminal to our Environmental and Sustainability Management System’s fenceline. This upcoming audit, then, is the first opportunity for an auditor to review the aspects and programs we’ve developed for MTD’s downtown intermodal facility.


The fast-paced, customer-driven environment at Illinois Terminal makes recycling a little more challenging than MTD’s other two facilities. Illinois Terminal is a facility with a variety of activity including MTD’s bus stop platforms, passenger waiting areas, our Customer Service Center, Amtrak platform and waiting area, Greyhound ticket office, commercial space, office space, classrooms for R.E.A.D.Y. School, CityView Banquet and Meeting Center, and a catering kitchen.

We established the goal to increase the number of recycling bins throughout Illinois Terminal. Specifically, we hope to establish a one-to-one ratio of recycling containers to waste containers by August 1, 2015.

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The recycling receptacles available on the first and second floor of Illinois Terminal.

Energy Use

Last year, fluorescent lighting on the first two floors of Illinois Terminal, as well as the exterior of the building, was replaced with LED light fixtures. We wrote about this retrofit in this Green Light.

We are now working to reduce energy consumption even further by replacing lighting on the fourth floor with LED bulbs. The fourth floor of Illinois Terminal is home to the CityView Banquet and Meeting Center as well as a catering kitchen. Replacing the fluorescent bulbs with LED lighting fixtures will further reduce the environmental impact of this facility.

Chiller Screens

Last year a new chiller was installed at Illinois Terminal, which yields energy savings. The new chiller makes use of thermal storage in the form of ice tanks. This system allows for the storage of cooling energy as ice to offset the maximum cooling load during peak hours, which lowers the peak electrical usage of the facility.

This chiller is located outdoors so it is exposed to the elements. After installation, MTD’s Illinois Terminal Manager identified that the evaporator and condenser coils on the chiller were not protected and debris was accumulating at an excessive rate. When debris is caught in the coils, the chiller does not work as efficiently and energy is wasted. Our goal is to improve efficiency and safety of the chiller by installing screens to protect the evaporator and condenser coils from debris.

The auditor arrives next week and will be reviewing our system’s documentation, touring our facilities, and interviewing employees throughout the week. Wish us luck!

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Independence Day and MTD

There will be no MTD service this Saturday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. Thank you for making adjustments as MTD employees enjoy the holiday with their families. Service will be unaffected on Friday, July 3 and we’ll return at the start of the regularly scheduled Sunday, July 5 service. Summer service reductions remain in effect until Friday, August 21.

The Champaign County Freedom Celebration is coordinating its 66th year of patriotic festivities! Along with an early morning 5k and evening fireworks, the annual parade will walk off at 11:05 am. This year’s theme is Flying High for Freedom. The construction at our maintenance facility is causing lots of adjustments, leaving us with less and less extra space. Because of this, MTD was unable to build a float this year nor store floats for community groups. But we’ll still be at the parade cruising in a 2013 diesel electric hybrid bus. Make sure to wave!

In honor of parades and floats of past, here’s a walk down Independence Day Memory Lane.

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For the 2008 parade, MTD built a float to seat our employee veterans. Serving our country, serving our community.

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In the same parade in 2008, MTD built a birthday cake to wish the City of Urbana a happy 175th birthday!

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The theme in 2009 was “Lincoln’s Lasting Legacy.” MTD built a recreation of the Lincoln Memorial.

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MTD built a miniature town (with a toy bus to serve it, of course) to celebrate our community’s everyday heroes.

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MTD celebrated it’s 40th year in 2011. This float paid homage to record ridership and the community. Note the sweetcorn, Memorial Stadium, former Assembly Hall, and Illinois Marathon banner!

"cumtd" "parade" "float" "youth"

To celebrate the 2012 theme of our community’s youth, MTD built a school house and playground! There was a lot of detail and moving parts (a swing, see saw, roundabout, and MTD bus) that all contributed to the title “Our Youth Always on the Move.”

"cumtd" "bus" "antique" "go kart" "parade"

In 2013 and 2014, MTD went back to basics and decorated our anitque bus, the Green Weenie, and our miniature go-kart bus. This year we’re taking a slightly different twist!

Happy Independence Day!

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Developing a Quality Management System

"cumtd" "mtd" "bus" "Country Fair" "stopwatch" "kiosk" "real-time"

Improving the customer experience at our bus stops with accurate STOPwatch real-time information is part of this process.

MTD is committed to quality service. We tell you we’re working towards constant improvement, value feedback, and seek to provide the best customer service possible. Efforts are made every day to answer these calls, but there is also an international standard MTD is working toward.

ISO 9001

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops and maintains workplace standards with the collaboration of 163 member countries. They explain it like this:

“International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services, and systems to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency.

ISO has published more than 19,500 International Standards covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare.”

MTD certified our Maintenance Facility in September 2013 under the ISO 14001:2004 standard. This standard develops an environmental and sustainability management system for a chosen fenceline. We found the program to be so worthwhile, we’re expanding to Illinois Terminal.

MTD decided to develop a second ISO standard, an ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS), in November 2012. In order to receive certification in this standard, an organization must:

“…demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements…aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”

A lot of long words to simply say the 9001 QMS standard works towards constant improvement and consistent customer service.

International to Local

With the structure of this international standard, MTD is hoping to accomplish many things. Consistently providing our customers a high quality of service is a top benefit. MTD is also using this system to respond to the strains of increased ridership, retirements, growing demands from our community and stakeholders, and the development of our current workforce.

A Core Team of 11 MTD staff identified 31 possible processes to work to improve. A survey was distributed to all staff and the four processes voted most in need of attention were customer service, employee training, safety, and schedule adherence.

The Core Team was then divided to lead small groups of MTD staff to work on each of the aspects respectively. The four aspect teams have worked on developing standard operating procedures, updating current processes, implementing new training programs, and more.

Four Aspects

"cumtd" "bus" "supervisor" "street" "training"

MTD Street Supervisors provide support to our operators and passengers around the clock. Improving and augmenting their training is part of this process.

The Customer Service Team is currently focused on improving the entry level customer call experience at all three MTD facilities. Specific efforts we’re addressing are the lost and found procedure and complaint taking process.

The Employee Training Team is addressing new training opportunities for our Street Supervisors. Whenever MTD is operating, there is at least one Street Supervisor on duty to monitor service on the street and in our Control Center. They are step in to make judgement calls and support difficult situations. So this aspect team targeted and implemented additional training for them. This included verbal judo and mental health training.

The Safety Team is developing an updated and advanced method for employees to document accidents and incidents. They are also addressing enhanced safety opportunities at our facilities as identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration’s threat and vulnerability assessment.

The Schedule Adherence Team worked on standardizing the procedure for inserting a Turn Bus into service. Turn Buses are extra buses strategically placed around the community to restore on-time service and respond to the unexpected. Passengers would complain about “phantom or ghost buses” disappearing from our STOPwatch real-time data. These Turn Buses, we discovered, were causing a (albeit) late bus to disappear from STOPwatch completely. The bus would disappear because it was replaced by a bus that was augmenting the route so that it would return to being on time! So by initiating a new procedure we call Drop Off Only, the case of the phantom buses is closed.

Slow and Steady

The Core Team and Aspect Teams are making progress, but MTD’s QMS is still in its early stages. We are reporting to MTD’s Board of Trustees Service Delivery Committee on a biannual basis about our progress.

The ultimate goal is develop a robust quality management system ready for an auditor to certify to the 9001 standard. This will take more documentation, records, and baselines to track improvement. The best part for our customers is a continued effort to improve our output across departments. Would you like to make a suggestion to one of the aspect teams? Please share it in the comments below!

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Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
1101 East University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802-2009
(217) 384-8188
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