July 24, 2014
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What’s a Hopper?

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

"MTD" "Hoppers"

From left to right: Yasmine, George, Oscar, Olivia, and Gizmo

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.

Hopper Existentialism

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.

Hopper 101

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.

Pro Tips

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!

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MTD Receives Healthy Worksite Designation

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Stu Smith, Illinois Terminal Director, center, sat on a panel of other healthy worksite designees at Human Kinetics on July 1, when the announcement was made.

MTD is proud to announce that on July 1, 2014, we received a Bronze level Illinois Healthy Worksite Designation. The Illinois Healthy Worksite Designation program launched this year and was established to recognize workplaces across the state with healthy practices that benefit both employers and employees. The designation is sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Health and Fitness, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. MTD will hold the distinction for three years and is recognized state-wide by a Certificate of Achievement from the Governor’s Office [MTD Press Release].

MTD was one of six Champaign County employers to apply for the Healthy Worksite Designation. Statewide, 58 applications were submitted and 28 received recognition. Four applicants were recognized with Gold level, nine for the Silver level, and 15, including MTD, were designated Bronze level.

Providing Wellness Since 1985

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The first MTD Fitness Center may have been basic (and very orange), but it was an exciting offering for many employees.

A fitness center, funded by employees, opened in 1985 in MTD’s second facility located at 803 East University Avenue in Urbana. The goal, as stated in a News-Gazette article published in January 1984, was to provide “a way to improve employee health and performance and reduce costs associated with illness.”

When MTD opened its Administration and Operations Facility at 1101 East University Avenue in 2003, the Fitness Center was relocated. Today it includes over a dozen cardio machines, free weights, weight lifting equipment, and a stretching area. Participating employees elect to pay a fee every paycheck that goes towards access and maintenance costs. MTD spouses may also exercise in the Fitness Center.

Other benefits employees can enjoy are access to a personal trainer, health monitoring, and our Long-Term Fitness Program that awards employees for logging in high levels of exercise. Locker rooms are available for employees to store their belongings as well as take showers. This is perfect for operators working split shifts or for employees who bike to work. A bicycle repair shed is also available to employees along with bike parking.

An internal Wellness Committee is led by Stu Smith, Illinois Terminal Director. The committee of bus operators and maintenance employees meets monthly to discuss spending of the funds as well as special initiatives like the Long-Term Fitness Program and MYZONE activity monitoring belts.

“The Fitness Center and efforts of the committee are funded solely by the employee contributions,” explains Smith. “The fees cover our service contracts for the exercise equipment, investments in new equipment, and the gift cards given to employees in the Long-Term Fitness Program.”

"cumtd" "fitness center"

MTD’s Fitness Center offers employees variety and convenience, located at our Administration and Operations Facility.

Submitting an Application

In April 2014, Smith reached out to the Illinois Department of Public Health after discovering the worksite designation. “I had never heard of the program until someone in my Wellness Committee brought it to my attention,” said Smith. At the same time he discovered the program, Smith learned that the application was due in two weeks.

Smith connected with Tara McCauley, Special Projects Coordinator at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District for assistance in completing the application. “She was very helpful,” said Smith. “We met only a few times, by phone and in person, but it was enough to get the application in on time.”

The application included records of employee awareness pieces (pamphlets, internal newsletter articles, and posters), a description of programs (such as the Wellness Week we hosted in 2012 with a graduate student from the University of Illinois), and images of the facility itself.

Smith has led MTD’s Wellness Committee for over 10 years. He says achieving the prestigious designation is a testament to the people involved. “It bodes well for the committee and the time and creativity that we’ve put into health and wellness at MTD,” said Smith. “The designation puts our company on the map. We’re now known by the state as trying to make a difference in the lives of our employees.”

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Green Light: Environmental Compliance Audit

In September 2013, MTD’s Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) was certified by the ISO 14001:2004 standard. At the time of certification, MTD was the sixth transit agency in the country to achieve ISO 14001:2004 certification and the first in the state of Illinois.

We’ve explained what this certification means, so now we’re taking the opportunity to remind you of MTD’s enhanced commitment thanks to the certification.

Routine Check-Ups

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 last year:

  • Preliminary Assessment in March 2013: Preparation for Stage 1 Assessment, auditor familiarized himself with MTD’s system and fenceline
  • Stage 1 Assessment in April 2013: Documentation review and planning, main goal is to see how effective our system is in all 17 sections of the Standard
  • Stage 2 Assessment in July 2013: Auditor ensures MTD’s policies, objectives, programs, and procedures are effectively put into practice, and that there is a planned systematic approach for improvement, also meets with senior management
"indoor air quality" "renewable energy" "ISO 14001"

Significant aspects are targeted to reduce their impact on the environment and the threat of pollution. Each year we add new ones and the auditor checks our work.

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. The first Surveillance Audit is next week!

Surveillance Audits confirm that MTD’s approved management system continues to be maintained, be in operation, and deliver continual improvements. The auditor will also consider implications of changes to our system and consider whether we continue to meet the certification requirements.

In other words, these annual audits keep the District’s environmental commitment (which includes monitoring, measurement, goal setting, training, and more) in a constant state of improvement.

And Then?

After MTD maintains our ISO 14001:2004 certification for three years, in July 2016, we will need to go through Certificate Renewal. It will be the same process that we went through in 2013 (detailed above) but likely with a new auditor so we can continue to challenge ourselves.

Each audit lasts at least two full days. After each audit, MTD receives an audit report noting any findings that need to be addressed. The report findings are also made available to MTD’s Board of Trustees.

The audit process allows MTD to maintain continual improvement. If we loosen our grip or ignore the ESMS at all, our certification is at risk. The auditor can take the certification away after a surveillance audit, or fail to renew the certification at a Certificate Renewal audit. Our credibility, commitment to sustainability, and all the horn tooting we do, would be threatened.

It is possible for an agency to implement an ESMS without certifying it to the standard. But at MTD, we value the strict requirements that come with certification and the opportunity to have an outside expert audit our system.

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Congratulations and Thanks, Bill Volk!

"CUMTD" "MTD" "Bill Volk"

MTD’s Managing Director, Bill Volk, retired June 30, 2014 after serving the District for 40 years. Photo Credit: Mass Transit Magazine

Today, June 30 is MTD Managing Director, Bill Volk’s last day. He is retiring from the District after serving in the role of Managing Director for 40 years. Well, 40 and a half years to be exact, his first day was January 28, 1974.

Please join us for an open house celebration today from 4-6 pm at CityView at Illinois Terminal, located on the fourth floor.

The accomplishments and significant milestones achieved over the decades under Volk’s leadership are numerous. Volk is quick to credit the District’s success to the long-tenure of other MTD employees. Six senior staff in particular provide over 200 years of combined service to the District – averaging over 30 years of service each.

“The stability created by the longevity of other employees have enabled me to concentrate on forward looking efforts while they managed outstanding day-to-day service with a 98% customer satisfaction rate,” said Bill Volk in a farewell letter to employees.

Annual Ridership in the Millions

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The week of December 1, 1975, MTD celebrated it’s millionth passenger. At the center of this memory board is the t-shirt they distributed to several lucky riders.

When Bill Volk arrived in Champaign-Urbana in 1974, after working at public transportation agency in Fort Wayne, Indiana, annual ridership at MTD was 708,272.

1975: 1,104,445

1975 – MTD built and moved into a new facility in Urbana, located at 801 E University Ave.

1977: 2,086,348

1977 – A transportation contract began with the Champaign Unit 4 School District that continues to this day!

1980: 3,091,478

1981 – MTD purchased a second neighboring facility located at 803 E University Ave in Urbana.

1983 – MTD became the first public transit agency to have a fully accessible fleet with the specifications of low floor buses.

1986 – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded MTD Outstanding Public Transportation system.

1986 – A transportation contract began with the Urbana Unit 116 School District that also continues to this day.

1989 – University of Illinois students approveed a semester student fee for unlimited bus access through a transportation contract. The contract is renegotiated and renewed every three years. The next renewal is in 2015.

1990: 5,499,317

1991: 7,430,873

1991 – APTA awarded Bill Volk Public Transportation Manager of the Year.

1992 – MTD’s facility at 803 E University is expanded to accommodate additional bus and parts storage as well as more servicing bays.

1994: 9,223,320

1994 – APTA awarded MTD Outstanding Public Transportation System, again!

1999 – Illinois Terminal, MTD’s intermodal facility, opens its doors to bus riders, AMTRAK passengers, the R.E.A.D.Y. School, tenants, and other local and regional transportation providers like Danville Mass Transit District and Greyhound.

2001: 10,102,665

2002 – A computer aided dispatch/automatic vehicle locator (CAD/AVL) technology is installed system-wide. STOPwatch real-time departure information is launched and made available to the public through MTD’s website.

2003 – MTD moves into a third facility at 1101 E University Ave that houses Administration and Operations.

2005 – The Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC) Funding formula passes. Bill Volk helped develop the formula and pass the legislation. The program provides additional funds for systems that provide a “level of transit service far greater than their size and density characteristics would typically suggest” (Source).

2012: 11,107,631

2013: 12,028,172

2013 – MTD is certified under the international standard ISO 14001:2004 Environmental and Sustainability Management System Standard.

2014: 13,200,00+

"Bill Volk" "Karl Gnadt" "CUMTD" "MTD" "Board Meeting" "Managing Direcotr

Bill Volk and Karl Gnadt at the July 2013 MTD Board Meeting when Gnadt was awarded the position of Managing Director.

What’s Next?

As the District bids farewell to Bill Volk along with many other dedicated staff, employees will look to our new Managing Director, Karl Gnadt. Starting as an intern at MTD, serving as the Managing Director of Danville Mass Transit, then returning to MTD to work as the Director of Market Development in 1995, Gnadt’s knowledge and passion for transit are evident. A welcome article from Gnadt is featured in the June-July issue of our email newsletter, STOPtalk.

In a letter to employees, Gnadt reflected on the impact Volk has had on his career and personal development. “Let me just say thank you to Bill Volk. Bill, you have been a mentor and a friend to me for close to 25 years now. You have played such a huge part in shaping who and what I am. How I view the world. What I do and how I do it. You have so much to be proud of – and I hope that I will be one of those things. You’re a hard act to follow, so I’m not going to try. I’m just going to do the best job that I can.”

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is a vastly different agency today than it was 40 years ago. With advances in service, accessibility, university transportation, technology, sustainability, and more, the community should look forward to 40 more years of quality service and innovation. Where should we turn next, Chambana?

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Bus Operator Summer Review

School may be out for the summer, but here at MTD classes are in session. Bus Operator Summer Review Training began June 9 and continues through August. Every summer, classes of operators are brought in daily to spend time with staff in the classroom and with trainers out on the road.

Morning, Classroom!

Report time is 7:00 am. Jim Dhom, Safety & Training Director provides a year-in-review for 30 minutes. He covers safety reminders, issues (good and bad) from the past year, and areas to focus on in the coming year.

Then between 7:30 and 9:00 am, four different staff people come through to give presentations on sustainability, market research results, website training, and employee benefits.

The final presentation is from Adam Shanks, Safety & Training Director Designate. Shanks covers attention performance and improved awareness through a one-hour training that provides operators with resources they can tap into while driving.

Afternoon, Bus Roadeo!

This year, Dhom and Shanks put together a bus roadeo of activities. Five experienced MTD trainers guide the operators in summer review through six different rounds of activities. Each lasts 45 minutes. Drivers rotate through five different skills in each of the six rounds (which gives each operator one break). The first rotation begins at 10:15 am and the day is shut off at 2:45 pm.

Skill 1: Evacuation, Fire Extinguisher, and Wheelchair Securement

Vehicle: 2011 40-foot bus

"CUMTD" "MTD" "practice fire extinguisher" "fire"

The best time to practice using a fire extinguisher is when the fire is planned and controlled!

"fire extinguisher" "safety"

Bus fires are rare but they happen. Knowing how to use the tools available in an emergency is key to safety!

Skill 2: Air Brake Test and Maneuvers

Vehicle: 2011 40-foot bus

The air brake test is one portion of the Commercial Driver’s License test along with three driving maneuvers. Pictured below is one of the three; it is called a judgment stop because the operator cannot see the cone once s/he gets very close to it.

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The bus approaches the judgement stop.

"judgement stop" "maneuver" "cone"

The operator must be six to twelve inches from the cone in order to pass.

Another maneuver operators are doing is parallel parking a bus. This is a new maneuver and will be added to the Illinois CDL test this year. Nearly every operator in summer review will be doing this maneuver for the first time.

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A new maneuver for MTD operators and the CDL test.

Skill 3: Smith and Safety Drive Evaluation

Vehicle: 2013 40-foot bus

This skill involves driving around the community. But the difference from day-to-day work is having the close examination of an MTD trainer.

Skill 4: Serpentine

Vehicle: 2001 60-foot bus

This maneuver is impressive! A 60-foot bus snakes through a line of cones to prove awareness of the articulated bus’s pivot point. And of course it is (ideally) completed without hitting a single cone.

 

"serpentine maneuver" "60-foot bus" "articulated"

The bend in a serpentine maneuver is extreme. The bus gets close to a 45 degree angle so it can pivot around the cones.

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Close to the cones is good with this maneuver! But if a cone goes down, so does your score.

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Around the cone the other way!

Skill 5: Smith and Safety Drive Evaluation

Vehicle: 2011 60-foot bus

The goal is the same as in Skill 3 only this time the operator is in a 60-foot bus instead of a 40-foot.

Cheers to Dhom, Shanks, and MTD’s knowledgeable trainers for planning another year of Summer Review Training!

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36th MTD Employee Awards Presentation

"CUMTD" "MTD" "service" "safety" "awards"

Four tables were filled with employee acknowledgements for outstanding service and safety.

Then and Now

MTD employees gather annually to celebrate each other’s commitment to service and safety. This year’s ceremony was on Sunday, June 1 and celebrated the accomplishments of 2013. The first awards presentation took place in 1978.

Back then, MTD was seven years old and annual ridership was just over 2.5 million. All operations, from bus maintenance and dispatch, to administration and phone answering, were accomplished out of one building located at 801 East University Avenue in Urbana.

Today, MTD is 43 years old and ridership for fiscal year 2014 was over 13 million. The 350+ District employees are spread across three locations: Administration and Operations Building, Maintenance Facility, and Illinois Terminal.

Awards

The award categories include service, safety, outstanding operator, outstanding retired part-time, outstanding special services, outstanding Illinois Terminal, outstanding Maintenance, and acknowledgement of multi-year outstanding statuses in each. Members of MTD’s Board of Trustees helped present the awards alongside MTD’s Managing Director Bill Volk and Assistant Managing Director Tom Costello.

The requirements to meet “outstanding” in an employment category are lengthy. From our press release on June 12, “Operator Safety Awards were presented for having zero preventable accidents in the previous calendar year. Criteria also include excellence in customer service, performance, and attendance.”

“Luis Fonseca was presented a 40-year Service Award; Dennis Harper, Dave Jackson, Barry Sloniger, and Morrie Trees were presented 35-year Service Awards; Tim Stephens a 30-Year Service Award, and Fred Buttitta, Tim Emery, Larry Fredrick, Mark Gendreau, Steve Heater, Ray Thomas, and Gervaise Williams 20-Year Service Awards.

“Multi-year Outstanding Operator Awards were given to Doug Weaver and Charles Wilson (25 years), John Bedient and Brad Neumann (20 years), Vern Chavez, Sam Steenbergen, Paul Taylor, and Gervaise Williams (15 years), Kevin Brown and Merle Colclasure (10 Years), and Jeremy Blunier, Steve Freeman, Steve Mutch, Tom Thiel, Nancy Wehling, and Robin Welch (5 years). Multi-year Outstanding Maintenance awards were presented to Steve Ellis, Trai Nguyen, Mike Chubb, and Charles Lutz.

“Operations Service Recognition awards for Outstanding service were presented to 78 employees. Outstanding MTD Maintenance Service and Illinois Terminal Recognition awards were presented to 21 employees, and five Special Services Operators were recognized for outstanding performance.”

Bill Volk’s Last Presentation

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Volk shakes hands with a 2013 Outstanding Operator. At the podium is Tom Costello, MTD’s Assistant Managing Director, who served as the evening’s emcee. Members of MTD’s Board also helped distribute awards.

This year’s awards presentation marked the final year with Bill Volk as the District’s Managing Director, a position he has held for 40 years. Volk is retiring on June 30, 2014. He has presented MTD employees with awards since the tradition began. Volk addressed employees at the end of the event, thanking everyone for their commitment to service excellence. Volk encouraged employees to always remember, “You’re in the people business. We’re here to serve.”

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Proposed Service Improvements 2014-2015

Public Hearing

A public hearing will be held a week from today, Monday, June 16, from 4 to 6 pm at Illinois Terminal in CityView on the fourth floor. Please come and review the proposed service improvements for MTD’s 2014-2015 service year, which begins Sunday, August 17, 2014. MTD staff and members of our Board of Trustees will be in attendance to answer questions and hear feedback.

What’s Affected?

5 Green (Weekday Daytime): MTD is adding service to the Stone Creek subdivision and multi-family housing along Stillwater Landing on regular 5 Green trips. The route will operate Florida to Smith to Stone Creek Boulevard to Cyprus Point to Stillwater Landing to Stone Creek to Smith and so on. The service will be limited – only operating a few trips in the morning and a few in the evening.

50 Green (Saturday Daytime): This route will no longer serve Parkland College. Service on the 50 Green Saturday Daytime will end at Country Fair and all other routing remains the same.

70 Grey (Saturday Daytime): This route will no longer serve Parkland College. After serving Bloomington & Prospect, the 70 Grey West will continue on Bradley Avenue to Country Fair Drive where it will turn south and serve Country Fair. The 70E Grey will then begin from Country Fair. The remaining 70 Grey routing is unchanged.

11 Ruby (Weekday): The route will no longer serve Bartlow Road due to poor road conditions. It will continue north on Willow after serving the intersection at Beason Road to Airport Road.

110 Ruby (Weekday Evening and Weekend): Same as the weekday Ruby, the route will no longer serve Bartlow Road due to poor road conditions.

180 Lime (Weekday Evening and Sunday): The 180 Lime will no longer operate south of Kirby or west of Mattis. After serving Kirby & Mayfair, the 180A will operate Mayfair to Broadmoor to Mattis to Kirby and then continue until Duncan where it resumes current routing. The 180B will operate the same routing but counter-clockwise. Limited service will be available to Plastipak, the DSC on Clark, and Caterpillar Logistics Services during the weekday evenings but not on Sundays (which is the same as current service).

180 Lime (Saturday Daytime): The 180 Lime will no longer operate south of Kirby or west of Mattis (as detailed above). The Saturday routing of the Lime will take over much of what the 70 Grey Saturday did last service year. The 180B will serve Parkland College with limited trips in the morning and in the afternoon, when classes begin and end, and will serve housing near Pomona & Clayton all day. The 180B will provide limited service to Plastipak, the DSC on Clark, and Caterpillar Logistics Services.

"180 Lime Saturday" "2014" "CUMTD"

The 180 Lime Saturday will serve Parkland College as well as Pomona & Clayton.

Schedule Improvements

The guaranteed weekday transfer at Illinois Terminal is being pushed from 6:33 to 6:35 am. The two minutes will improve the reliability of the transfer as some routes have had difficulty meeting the time. “It takes time to get all the buses lined up,” explained MTD Planner, Jay Rank. “We need lots of buses there to make sure people get to work and school on time. So the two minutes will hopefully improve the transfer.”

There will no longer be a guaranteed transfer at Green & Wright at 6:40 am. Buses will continue to meet there and schedules will direct routes to get to Green & Wright at approximately the same time, but buses will not wait for all passengers to transfer. The activity at the Illinois Terminal weekday transfer is much greater than at Green & Wright. MTD has therefore made the decision to put our resources, extra time (the two minutes), and extra staff into the Illinois Terminal transfer.

To address a gap in the schedule, a trip is being added to the 2 Red Weekday Daytime. A 5:35 pm trip will depart the Illini Union as the 2U Red and serve the east side of campus, Urbana, and Lincoln Square. This trip will only operate during the University of Illinois Fall and Spring Semesters.

Small tweaks are also being made to improve the connections between weekday service on the 7 Grey and 9A/B Browns.

Double Check

As always, we recommend checking the trips you ride before the start of the 2014-2015 service year. We want you to be certain of the scheduled departure times and if your particular trip will continue to your destination. MTD works hard to make the Maps & Schedules Books available prior to the start of service as well as share the PDFs on our website. Stay connected with us as we’ll announce the availability of the information as soon as it’s available on MTDnews on our website and on Facebook and Twitter.

Questions? Suggestions? Let us know in the comments below.

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Green Light: IGBA Certifies MTD

The Illinois Green Business Association (IGBA) presented the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) with its Green Business Certification at the MTD Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. MTD is the first public transit district in Illinois to complete the program, and the 39th organization to become a green certified business through the IGBA.

Press Release, May 28

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Ryan Wolber, IGBA Certification Manager (left), presented Don Uchtmann, MTD Board Chair (right), with the certification award at the May 2014 MTD Board Meeting.

Day-to-Day Greening

MTD is fortunate to have received grants to execute large scale capital projects that resulted in significant environmental and financial savings. Recent projects at our Administration and Operations Facility included the installation of a geothermal HVAC system, permeable pavers in the building’s parking lot, and a white roof. During the past seven months, our Maintenance Facility installed a solar array and Illinois Terminal (MTD’s intermodal facility in downtown Champaign) acquired funds to execute an LED lighting retrofit.

But what about the little things? There are numerous day-to-day tweaks that may seem small, but add up to significant savings over time. “MTD has been committed to sustainable practices for over a decade,” said Jane Sullivan, Grant Manager/Sustainability Planner. “The result has been lots of thoughtful sustainability changes made over the years, but MTD hasn’t tracked everything, or gotten credit, for all these little things we’re already doing.”

To complete the Illinois Green Business Association’s (IGBA) Certification Program, Sullivan needed to collect all of these “thoughtful changes,” verify they were still occurring, and confirm the changes were environmentally-friendly. Since she began working at MTD in 2012, there were many projects that predated her. The IGBA Certification presented a wonderful opportunity to bring all the years together.

“Incorporating sustainable business practices are not just good for the environment, but economically efficient,” said Cassie Carroll, IGBA’s Executive Director. “We help businesses better manage their assets and utilities, putting money back into their bottom line. Businesses across Illinois have realized the benefits of these business-friendly green practices and, in turn, are helping our communities understand just why sustainable practices are so important.”

Some of the changes Sullivan documented for the certification included a switch to purchasing materials made with recycled content. “This included purchasing printer paper, letterhead paper, envelopes, business cards, toilet paper, paper towels, and trash bags made with varying amounts of recycled material,” said Sullivan.

Another credit MTD received was through an initiative by MTD Maintenance Director Dave Moore. He oversaw the installation of light sensors across all three MTD facilities in rooms of lower use. This helped eliminate human error when lights were left on after someone left a room.

“Our international certification for our Environmental and Sustainability Management System (ESMS) was a tremendous undertaking that the District is very proud of, but it doesn’t affect every single employee on a daily basis,” said Sullivan. “The IGBA Certification encouraged us to focus on the necessities that are used by every employee, every day. It makes this certification very local and personal for the District.”

Employee Awareness

There are nearly a dozen areas for businesses to earn points in that add up towards their IGBA Certification. The Program Awareness area gave MTD the opportunity to bring the sustainability message closer to every employee.

“In previous ‘Green Trainings,’ we focused on the ISO 14001:2004 certification – the Environmental Management System,” said Sullivan. “But IGBA reminded us and organized us to better present these important day-to-day things that every employee of the District sees and is impacted by.” Bus operators in particular will get this opportunity as they begin Summer Review Training Thursday of this week. Sullivan will present an updated sustainability talk that will share some of the items collected for the IGBA Certification.

"IGBA" "CUMTD" "MTD" "certification" "assessment"

An assessment MTD completed for the IGBA Certification.

“We at the IGBA congratulate MTD for their large accomplishment of reaching accreditation through our green business certification program. MTD is a leader in the transportation industry, not just for their exemplary services offered to the C-U community, but for their sustainability initiatives,” said Carroll. “MTD incorporated 110 green practices in nine areas of sustainability, from ensuring lights be turned off at night to installing a solar array on their garage, to utilizing green cleaning products. MTD has truly demonstrated their commitment to sustainability throughout all aspects of their business, and we are proud to have worked with them at the Illinois Green Business Association.”

Local Connection

Another benefit to pursuing the IGBA Certification was working with a local not-for-profit. The IGBA was formed by University of Illinois alumni who were challenged to answer the question, “How do you green Green Street?” Years later, IGBA has guided business across the entire state towards their certification.

“It’s great for MTD to be able to utilize the knowledge of a wonderful local group like the IGBA,” said Sullivan. “We’re able to support IGBA, while working towards a common cause.” To continue the partnership, Sullivan joined an IGBA Technical Advisory Group on Transportation.

Has your business completed IGBA’s Certification? What do you think is MTD’s next sustainability frontier?

Posted in Green Lights | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New STOPwatch Kiosks

"Lincoln Square" "Courthouse" "bus stop" "kiosk" "stopwatch"

STOPwatch kiosk at the Lincoln Square Courthouse bus stop.

In December of last year, MTD announced the installation of seven STOPwatch kiosks across the community. What’s a STOPwatch kiosk? Follow that link in the first sentence to get the 4-1-1.

So now that we’re in the heat of warmer weather, you may be wondering how the project is progressing.

Five Stages of Installation

Each STOPwatch kiosk calls upon outside agencies to complete the installation of these high-tech amenities.

1) Concrete is poured and the area is prepped. MTD works with contractors to accomplish these tasks.

2) The STOPwatch kiosk housing, which includes the base, frame, and LED screen mounted on top, are installed by a local company, McNutt Consulting Company (MCS).

3) The kiosk gets hooked up to electricity, thanks to local contractor Potter Electric.

4) The kiosk gets connected to a fiber internet connection, more on that below.

5) Electronic components, including a computer, are installed inside the kiosk and it is turned on and connected to the fiber. The computer is also connected to two LCD screens, which are installed at the same time, as well as the two cameras.

Making Progress

Six of the kiosks (from west to east: Country Fair, Parking Garage at University & Goodwin, Gregory at David Kinley Hall, Gregory & Goodwin in front of Bevier Hall, Gregory & Dorner in front of Allen Hall, and Lincoln Square Courthouse) have completed steps one and two.

The remaining steps require coordination and collaboration with outside parties. At Country Fair in Champaign and Lincoln Square in Urbana, MTD is working with UC2B: Urbana Champaign Big Broadband for the fiber connection. This high speed connection enables live camera views as well as fast and reliable data connections.

"Control Center" "MTD" "CUMTD"

MTD’s Control Center is an elaborate monitoring system that insures quality service.

The live camera feeds are viewed in our Control Center by our Dispatchers. Whenever MTD service is on the street, the Control Center is open. The feeds are used to monitor service demand and performance. The footage is also stored for post-incident review.

For the four STOPwatch kiosks on campus, MTD is collaborating with University of Illinois CITES (Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services) to connect the kiosks to fiber. This will also enable live camera feeds and frequently updated departure estimates.

More to Come

MTD will install more STOPwatch kiosks at bus stops with high demand. The kiosks at Springfield & Busey and Lot E-14 have been delayed, but are still in the plans. MTD has also included an upgrade to the heavily-trafficked White Street corridor in its 2014 TIGER application.

What do you think is the most valuable contribution of the STOPwatch kiosks to the rider? Is it the convenience of stop information displayed without the aid of a personal device? Is it the speaker system that reads times aloud to riders with visual impairment? Let us know.

Posted in CUMTD News | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Summer Construction Reroutes

Congratulations to University of Illinois and Parkland College Graduates! It’s been our pleasure to transport you to classes, libraries, coffee shops, volunteer destinations, shopping, and beyond. Good luck in your future endeavors!

"University of Illinois" "Sixth Street closed"

Sixth Street is closed between Gregory and Armory for summer 2014.

While Champaign Unit 4 Schools and Urbana School District 116 are still in class for the next two weeks, summer construction projects are already beginning to fire up. At the start of today, May 19 service, three construction projects on the UI campus began. Sixth Street is closed between Gregory and Armory and Fourth Street is closed between Kirby and Peabody. This affects nearly all of MTD’s routes (reroute). These two projects are expected to last through the summer.

The third project affects College Court, which runs between PAR and FAR. It is closed due to road conditions (reroute). All three of these campus reroutes were added to our data so when you use our website’s Trip Planner, Bus Stop Lookup, or an app powered with our API data, the altered service paths and bus stops will be reflected. The STOPwatch real-time departures will also calculate from the altered service path. MTD changes the data to reflect long-term reroutes to improve the service for our passengers as well as ease the stress on our operators.

"College Court" "PAR" "FAR"

College Court, pictured, will not be served by MTD buses during summer 2014 due to road conditions.

Upcoming Reroutes

There will be more construction reroutes this summer. Some will last a day, others a week, and then there are some that will last for over a month. We covered all the ways to track reroutes in this post from 2011. But a refresher never hurts!

To stay on top of reroutes, we highly recommend signing up for MyRIDE. This is a free rider alert subscription service and it takes minutes to create a profile. You select the routes for which you’re interested in receiving updates and choose the method of contact. You can receive a text and/or email when a scheduled reroute or service interruption will affect your service. You can also favorite bus stops for quick real-time tracking navigation on our website. You’ll also be invited to sign up for our bimonthly email newsletter, STOPtalk (which we also highly recommend – view past issues). We only use  your information for MyRIDE alerts and never provide it to anyone else.

Note the Red Banner

In the center of our home page, you’ll find a red reroute banner. The banner displays all fixed-routes currently affected by a reroute. You can click on the corresponding box  for the route you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to a page that highlights the reroutes affecting that route. Admittedly, this feature is not as useful during the summer because nearly every MTD route is affected by a reroute. But, it’s a starting point nonetheless.

To go directly to the reroutes page, you can click on the text “Reroute Alert” on the red banner or navigate to “Maps & Schedules” then select “Reroutes & Alerts” on the sub-navigation. Or keep this post handy and click this link!

At the Stop Messaging

Our Operations Department posts signage at the regular bus stops to alert riders that their stop has been moved due to a reroute. Sometimes signage gets tampered with, so if you believe a sign should be somewhere it’s not, please let us know!

Do you have any tips about managing summer reroutes? Do you subscribe to MyRIDE?

Posted in Between the Lines, CUMTD News | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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