Do you board or alight an MTD route in downtown Champaign? If yes, then this post is a must-read!
Any route serving downtown Champaign will only serve designated stops beginning Sunday, August 17 at the start of MTD’s 2014-2015 service year. The boundaries for the designated stop corridor in downtown are Church Street on the north, First Street on the east, Springfield Avenue on the south, and State Street on the west.
MTD introduced designated stops to the University of Illinois campus and nearby areas over five years ago. The specified intersections and stops for boarding and exiting the bus improve on-time performance. Serving every possible intersection can make getting in and out of a busy area like campus even more difficult and time consuming. Designated stops turn, “board at every safe intersection” to, “board at approximately every other intersection.”
Designated stops also clarify for both passengers and operators where riders may hop on and off. This improves confidence and streamlines our service. Bus stop signs were placed at all the designated stops on campus, which helps the constant stream of newcomers, or new tenants, easily find their closest stop.
The same, we predict, will be true for downtown Champaign. Bus stop signs will be placed/updated at all designated stops. The routes and directions serving the stop will be listed along with the stop’s unique four-digit code. Passengers can text that code (ex. ‘mtd2746′ for Springfield & State) to ’35890′ and instantly get the STOPwatch real-time departure information.
Now that you’ve read our pitch, where can you look to find the designated stops for your route? Let’s start with the routes affected:
5/50 Green and GREENhopper
6 Orange and ORANGEhopper
9A and 9B Brown
Designated stops in downtown Champaign apply across daytypes. The designated stops listed for each route remain the same between daytypes, barring any routing change already in place for the route. So if you’re riding the 5 Green Weekday Daytime, the designated stops in downtown Champaign are the same if you were to ride the Green in the evening or on the weekend.
A few of the routes affected already had designated stops and/or iStops (designated stops where neither an ID nor a fare are required to board) when serving campus and surrounding areas. Those designated stops remain in effect. The new designated stops in downtown Champaign are added to the route’s list of stops.
A list of a route’s assigned stops is featured on every route map in a designated stop box. This is displayed in the pages of our Maps & Schedules Book as well as in the Maps & Schedules section on our website. The designated stops are also marked on the route map with a white star encircled in pink.
MTD’s real-time information and our API (Application Programming Interface), which feed our website and developer-made apps, will reflect the new designated stops in downtown Champaign. For example, if you try to search for Logan & Market on our mobile website or in an app on August 17 or any day after, the stop will not report back any departure times because it is no longer a stop for any route.
Worth It to Check It
Not only should you be checking your route for designated stops, but it’s always worthwhile to double check the updated schedules. We shared the big changes at our public hearing on June 16, but small tweaks have been made across many schedules. Referencing an updated map and schedule before riding on August 17 or beyond is worth your time.
One prime example is the change to the Illinois Terminal Universal Transfer. It now takes place at 6:35 am instead of 6:33. While those two-minutes may seem minor, it could add up to a several minutes of difference for your boarding point.
Ready to do your homework? We’ve posted the full PDF of the 2014-2015 Maps & Schedules Book on our website. The web schedules, maps, and data will be updated before the start of the service year. The physical Maps & Schedules Book is being printed this week! MTD will have the updated books at the Taste of C-U (August 15 and 16) and the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival (August 22 and 23). Another reason to come to these wonderful community events! We hope to C-U there.
We realize the addition of designated stops in downtown Champaign will require some change and patience on your part. MTD thanks you in advance. We’ll get through the adjustment period together and hopefully be better off for it as we enjoy improved on-time performance and clearer stop information. Thanks for riding.