May 24, 2016
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MTD Enhances Safety

Since 2006, MTD has voluntarily participated in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus Safety Management Program. This is a three-year process consisting of a safety pre-audit, audit, and post-audit. This process allows the APTA Staff to familiarize themselves with our agency and give specific recommendations based on how MTD is operated. Because MTD has chosen to participate in this program for ten years, we’ve completed the full safety audit cycle three times!

This cycle also allows MTD to gain expert perspective on how to enhance safety and our services for both riders and employees. For 2016, MTD’s Safety & Training Department brought APTA in for the pre-audit phase. Here are some highlights of the safety changes implemented from this year’s findings.

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Two core trainers pictured address a class of new operators.

Training

All MTD bus operators are required to complete the ATTICUS Core Competency Training Program upon hiring. Operators are also required to complete re-training on this program every two years. This program focuses on safe performance and includes lessons on topics like fatigue while driving and maintaining a high level of attention.

Operating Environment

MTD developed Stop Placement Guidelines to establish safe and consistent selection of bus stops. This guide was published in January 2016 by MTD Staff and was reviewed by our Board of Trustees. There are many ways to approach safety at a bus stop. An excerpt from our guide:

Stops should have clear access for pedestrians. When possible, stops should be accessible from a sidewalk…Whenever possible, stops and surrounding areas should be well lit to promote visibility and provide a safe environment for passengers to wait.

Vehicle Maintenance

Our pre-trip inspection forms were modified to solicit daily checks and identification of the critical safety items onboard a vehicle including the air brakes, horn, and windshield wipers. Operators were already trained to identify these items during a pre-trip, but we formalized this portion of the inspection. These items were added to the Training Program as well as the Operator’s Daily Vehicle Report log.

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This charming holiday photo also displays the bollards at the front entrance of Illinois Terminal, which enhance safety.

Security

In October 2014, MTD installed bollards outside of the Illinois Terminal entrance based on recommendations by APTA Staff. MTD took the recommendation and investigated the costs and feasibility of the proposed installation. Bollards, which are a short vertical posts usually made of cement, reduce the risk of vehicles entering spaces they are not designated to use. In our case, up on the sidewalk or through the front doors of Illinois Terminal.

Results

Of the 23 safety elements upon which MTD was inspected, we accepted and enacted 35% of the suggested changes as of APTA’s last visit. 22% of the recommendations were already in place at MTD, while 26% are still a work in progress. Finally, MTD decided to not enact 17% of the suggestions due to variables such as satisfaction with current procedures or similar practices already in progress. MTD will next conduct the audit stage in spring 2017.

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Public Hearing for Fall 2016 Proposed Changes

MTD will hold a public hearing on Monday, May 23, 2016 on the fourth floor of Illinois Terminal from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. This hearing will gather feedback as MTD presents our proposed changes for the new service year.

MTD initiates a new service year every August and for 2016, the proposed changes will go into effect on August 14, 2016. From August on, MTD Staff collect feedback on schedules, routing, areas served, areas not served, etc.

There will not be a formal presentation on May 23, but several MTD Staff will be available to walk through each proposed change and formally document feedback. So what’s on the docket?

Designated Stops Across Entire 5/50 Green/GREENhopper/Green Express Route

Designated stops were first introduced to MTD’s service in 2009 for certain high density areas on the University of Illinois campus for a few select routes. Over the years, designated stops were added throughout campus, downtown Champaign, and in high speed areas like in Savoy south of Curtis Road and in Urbana east of Main & University.

For Fall 2016, MTD is introducing designated stops for an entire route for the first time. Designated stops present many benefits including improved on-time performance, clarity valid bus stops, and effectively providing bus stop signage and amenities.

The Green Route currently has designated stops between Green & Race and downtown Champaign. This leaves six areas where stops will be added:

Each map presents details on average daily stop activity and distance between stops. You can also zoom in on each PDF maps.

"green" "route" "MTD" "CUMTD" "designated" "stops" "Springfield"

This is a portion of the map detailing designated stops along Springfield Avenue for the 5/50 Green/GREENhopper.

6E Orange/ORANGEhopper and 7E Grey in Downtown Urbana

Routing has been altered for weekday daytime trips of the 6E Orange/ORANGEhopper and 7E Grey trips leaving Lincoln Square. MTD proposes these routes will operate Broadway to Elm to Race to Main to regular route. This new routing eliminates the need for a left turn onto Vine off of Elm, which will improve route efficiency.

10 Gold in Northeast Urbana

MTD proposes the Gold operate in a clockwise direction in northeast Urbana in both the morning and afternoon. Currently, the Gold operates counterclockwise in the morning and clockwise in the afternoon.

The clockwise routing operates Brownfield to Airport Road to High Cross to Perkins. This will alter the beginning and ending times for the midday loop.

20 Red Saturday

Due to limited hours at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, MTD proposes that the 20 Red Saturday serve the stop upon request only in both directions.

21 Raven Serves PAR/FAR

There are a few improvements proposed for the 21 Raven including added service to the dormitories on Pennsylvania and Florida Avenues. The frequency will remain the same, every 30 minutes, but the schedule will be altered. VetMed will also be changed to an iStop where no fare or ID is required to ride.

100 Yellow

To improve route consistency, MTD proposes the 100 Yellow Evening, 100 Yellow Saturday, and 100 Yellow Sunday operate the same routing across daytypes south of First & Gregory. The routes will operate on First to Stadium to State to Fox to First to Windsor and then on Lyndhurst south of Windsor and north of Burwash.

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This is the proposed routing change for the 100 Yellow Evening, Saturday, and Sunday.

Downtown Urbana

Following MTD’s journey to improve stop accuracy and clarity, we propose adding designated stops in the Urbana Central Business District (University Avenue and Water Street between Race and Cunningham/Vine) and Downtown Urbana (Main and Elm Street between Race and Vine). Buses will only stop at the designated stops in these areas. This affects the 2 Red, 5/50 Green/GREENhopper, 6 Orange/ORANGEhopper, 7/70 Grey, 8 Bronze, 10 Gold/GOLDhopper, 11/110 Ruby, and 13/130 Silver.

Added and Removed iStops

iStops will be added at Capstone Quarters on North Lincoln Avenue and at VetMed on the UI Campus.

iStops will be removed south of Lot E-14, in particular in Research Park and at Gerty & First.

Input on Transfers

MTD is reviewing our transfer procedures and rules. We’re seeking public opinions, experiences, expectations, and ideas about MTD transfers. One idea under consideration is eliminating transfers and introducing an all-day weekday pass.

There will be no changes for Fall 2016 but an internal group is studying the issue and needs your input! Please visit with an MTD Staff person at the public hearing or send an email with your feedback to our Marketing Manager, Jan Kijowski, at jkijowski@cumtd.com.

Other Ways to Share Feedback

Can’t make it to the public hearing? We still want to hear from you! You can submit feedback through the form on our website. You can also post on MTD’s Facebook Page or mention us on Twitter.

We also welcome feedback by phone, 217.384.8188, or by mail. Please send feedback to our Administration & Operations Facility located at 1101 East University Avenue in Urbana, zip code 61802.

And of course, you can post your thoughts and questions right here in the comments!

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Summer Service Reductions 2016

"Green" "Wright" "articulated" "bus" "Illini"

MTD reduces service during University of Illinois Breaks because demand is reduced.

Congratulations soon-to-be graduates! MTD will begin operating reduced service this Saturday, May 14. Summer service reductions will continue until the start of the 2016-2017 academic year. MTD’s new service year will begin on Sunday, August 14 and service reductions will lift on Friday, August 19.

Reductions on University of Illinois Campus

Reductions during summer break are similar to reductions for other academic breaks (fall, winter, and spring). The 2 Red Express trips will not operate. These are signaled by the “L” and “U” footnotes in the schedule.

Unique to summer break is 335 SafeRides, which does not operate at all. There is also no late night service, which includes all scheduled service after midnight on the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini. Every Sunday of summer break, MTD will only operate daytime service. This means trips designated as evening and late night do not operate.

The 12/120 Teal, 13/130 Silver, and 22/220 Illini operate limited frequency. The Teal and Silver operate every 20 minutes across all daytypes. The Illini Limited runs every 30 minutes. The routing for the 130 Silver Evening and Weekend is shortened. The Illini Limited operates at all times with an abbreviated route.

"urbana" "champaign" "learn to ride" "bus" "school" "transportation"

This time of year, MTD is visiting all elementary schools for “Learn to Ride” presentations. These 45-minute sessions cover the basics of riding MTD to middle school.

School Trips

MTD provides transportation to Champaign and Urbana middle and high schools. These trips are open to the public and are detailed by footnotes on the affected schedules. These extra trips will not operate once school is out for the summer.

Summer Days of No Service

There will be no MTD service on Memorial Day, May 30 as well as Independence Day, July 4. Thank you for making travel accommodations as our employees enjoy these national holidays. Service will not be affected on the days before or after.

Web Tools and Apps

Our Trip Planner and the mobile applications will reflect these service reductions. So you can plan your trips with confidence!

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Green Light: Bike Month is Here!

"champaign" "urbana" "bike month" "2016" "217" "bike" "crew"

This is the 2016 C-U Bike Month T-Shirt! Get yours when you register for a Bike Month event and provide a donation to this year’s initiative to raise funds for youth bicycling education.

C-U Bike Month is here! The Planning Committee worked hard to bring you a month filled with bicycle friendly events, education, and fun.

Join the fun and register for the events you plan to attend. This helps the Committee to plan accordingly. It also provides you with an opportunity to make a donation to youth bicycle education. You’ll get a “217 Bike Crew” t-shirt and your donation will go towards the purchase of a fleet of youth bicycles to be used for education as well as a trailer to transport the bikes to schools and other bicycle classes.

You can get all of the details at cubike.org, but we’ll give you a few of the highlights here…

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is Tuesday, May 3 (tomorrow!).  It’s not too late to register! See the map below for the Welcome Station locations. Stop by on your way to work to say hello, grab a snack, and pick up your Bike Month t-shirt.

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This map displays the eight Welcome Stations for Bike to Work Day on May 3, 2016!

Bike to School Day

Bike to School Day for kindergarten all the way up to twelfth grade is Wednesday, May 4. Register your students! All registered kids get a C-U Bike Month t-shirt.

Bike to Market Days

Bike to Market Days are every Saturday in May at Urbana’s Market at the Square and on May 10 and 17 at Champaign’s Farmers Market. Register here!

Community Bike Sale

There will be a Community Bike Sale to support the Kickapoo Rail Trail on Saturday, May 6. Please donate a bike or come by to shop a wide variety of used bikes.

Pop-Up Bike from Work

To continue on with the spirit of Bike to Work Day, Pop-up Bike from Work events are planned for the remaining Tuesday evenings in May. All are invited to stop by the U of I Alma Mater (May 10), Barrelhouse (May 17), and Sipyard (May 24) on their ride home. On the final Tuesday in May, we’ll end Bike Month at the Art Theater with a showing of “Bikes vs. Cars.”

Check out the C-U Bike Month Calendar below, which shows all the fun happenings across Champaign and Urbana this month.

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This is the official calendar for C-U Bike Month 2016. Get registered for events today!

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Illinois Marathon Affects MTD Service

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Let’s hope the weather is better for this year’s Marathon runners!

The 8th Annual Illinois Marathon race weekend has arrived! Service will be impacted and we’ve got all the details you’d ever want in this post. Remember you can always call us, tweet us, or Facebook us with questions as the races progresses.

5K Race – Friday, April 29

The Illinois Marathon’s 5K Race winds through campus and will result in reroutes for most of our evening service. The reroutes are expected to last for approximately an hour and a half. Please expect delays as our routes will not be running their usual service path while navigating busier than normal streets. We suggest taking an earlier than normal trip to insure you arrive at your desired time!

50E Green: Beginning at 6:51 pm from Illinois Terminal: Green to First to Springfield to Wright to Green to regular route.

50W Green: Beginning at 7:07 pm from Lincoln Square: Green to Wright to Springfield to First to Green to regular route.

100N Yellow: Beginning at 6:35 pm from Savoy Walmart: Route 45 to Fox/St. Mary’s to State to Hessel to Stadium to Oak to John to Locust to Green to First to Springfield to Wright to regular route.

100S Yellow: Beginning at 6:50 pm from Illinois Terminal: Wright to Springfield to First to Green to Locust to John to Oak to Stadium to Hessel to State to Fox/St. Mary’s to 45 to Burwash to regular route.

13/130N Silver: Beginning at 7:02 pm from Vet-Med: Dorner to Gregory to Goodwin to Springfield to Wright to Green to regular route.

13/130S Silver: Beginning at 7:05 pm from Lincoln Square: Springfield to Goodwin to Green to Wright to Springfield to Goodwin to Green to Mathews to Nevada to Goodwin to Gregory to Dorner to regular route.

22/220N Illini: Beginning at 6:58 pm from FAR/PAR: Lincoln to Illinois to Goodwin to Springfield to Wright to Green to regular route.

22/220S Illini: Beginning at 6:48 pm from Lincoln & Killarney: Green to Wright to Springfield to Goodwin to Green to Mathews to Nevada to Goodwin to Illinois to Lincoln to regular route.

Marathon Race – Saturday, April 30

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In black is the routing for the Illinois Marathon. Colored are all our Saturday routes on their alternative service paths.

All MTD Saturday Daytime routes will be on reroute at the start of the service day. MTD is putting extra staff on the street, on the phones, and in our Control Center to monitor the race’s progress. MTD will resume regular service when the streets are cleared and it is safe to do so. The timing is not certain but we will update riders through our website, social media, and at the stop digital kiosks. Again, delays are expected with these abnormal traffic patterns.

The Lincoln Square stops will be moved to Illinois Street, south of Lincoln Square Mall.

20C Red: Florida to Vine to Michigan to Lincoln to Nevada to Goodwin to Springfield to Wright to regular route. Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to University to Chestnut to Main to Walnut to regular route.

20U Red: Wright to Springfield to Goodwin to Nevada to Lincoln to Michigan to Vine to Florida to regular route.             

30N Lavender: Market to University to Chestnut to Main to Church to regular route.

50E Green: Market to University to Fourth to Springfield to Goodwin to Illinois to Vine to regular route as far as Cottage Grove & Colorado then Cottage Grove to Mumford to Philo to Silver. Bus will lay over at Silver & Vawter and hold for passengers transferring from an MTD Van. A van will cover Meijer, southeast Urbana, and Orchard Downs. Another van will operate between Illinois Terminal and the Green & Locust area.

50W Green: Vine to Illinois to Goodwin to Springfield to Fourth to University to First to Chester to Illinois Terminal. Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to Chestnut to Main to Walnut to Columbia to State to Springfield to regular route.

70W Grey: Washington to Dodson to Main to Glover to Green to Urbana to California to Broadway to Illinois to Vine to University to regular route. Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to Chestnut to Main to regular route.

70E Grey: State to Washington to Neil to Main to regular route. Buses will enter downtown Urbana via University to Vine to California to Broadway to Illinois to Vine to Green to Glover to Main to Dodson to Washington to regular route.

100N Yellow: First to Gerty to Oak to St. Mary’s to Neil to Kirby to Oak to Armory to Wright to White to Fourth to University to First to Chester to Illinois Terminal. Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to Chestnut to Main to Walnut to regular route.

100S Yellow: Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to Third to White to Wright to Chalmers to Fifth to Armory to Oak to Kirby to Neil to St. Mary’s to Oak to Gerty to First to regular route.

110N Ruby: Illinois to Vine to University to Broadway to regular route.

110N Ruby from University & Cottage Grove: University to Vine to California to Broadway to Illinois.

110S Ruby: Broadway to University to Vine to California to Broadway to Illinois.

110S Ruby to University & Cottage Grove: Illinois to Vine to University & Cottage Grove.

120E Teal: Buses will exit Illinois Terminal via Market to University to Third to White to Springfield to Goodwin to Nevada to Gregory Place to Oregon.

120W Teal: Oregon to Lincoln to Nevada to Goodwin to Springfield to Wright to White to Fourth to University to First to Chester to Illinois Terminal.

130N Silver: Armory to Wright to Springfield to Cedar to Illinois.

130S Silver: Illinois to Vine to California to Race to Illinois to Cedar to Springfield to Wright to Chalmers to Sixth to Armory.

180A Lime: Kirby to Westfield to William to regular route.

180B Lime: William to Westfield to Kirby to regular route.

220N Illini: Wright to Springfield to Goodwin to regular route.

220S Illini: Goodwin to Springfield to Wright to regular route.

A van serving Orchard Downs will go as far as Vine & George Huff.

Good luck to the racers and welcome to all the visitors! All Day Passes are available on Saturday and Sunday for $2.

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Translated Information for Navigating MTD

"CUMTD" "MTD" "bus" "campus"

A 60-foot articulated bus serves the Illini Union Engineering Side.

MTD is honored to provide rides to our diverse community. Latino residents have more than doubled in recent years and are the fastest growing population in Champaign County. The University of Illinois has a robust and growing international student population and was once ranked second in the country for the highest number of international students among public universities.

Translated Guides

We want our service to be navigable for individuals with limited English proficiency. Translating the route names from 5 Green, for example, to 5 Verde doesn’t do much for on the street way finding. The bus destination signs and STOPwatch real-time digital kiosks only display information in one language. Translating bus stops has a similar limited usefulness. The street signs at every corner are in English as well as printed addresses.

"CUMTD" "MTD" "Chinese" "Korean" "Spanish" "information" "website"

MTD’s website features a 101-guide that was professionally translated. Find it under the “Riding” section.

But with so many riders speaking English as their second language (or third), we wanted to offer a foundation. Google Translate is a tool that can get a new user started and it is available on the footer of every page on MTD’s website. However, there are limits to the quality of robot translation. As the saying goes, certain elements get lost in translation.

Thanks to the University of Illinois’ International Student and Scholar Services, MTD provides a four page introductory service guide in three languages: Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish. These professionally translated pages provide an overview of MTD’s services, our system’s structure, and general information like what’s a Hopper?

Phone Translation

But I just want to talk to someone.

We know the feeling. Individuals may call MTD and request a translator. MTD representatives will then dial a third party service and get a translator in the customer’s preferred language on the line. The three of us will put our ears together to answer your questions and get you on your way to work, school, and beyond.

What Else?

Now we turn to you, dear reader rider. What can MTD do to better serve individuals whose first language is not English? MTD Staff regularly attend international student orientation events, but we know there is more to do. Let us know your ideas in the comments below.

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MTD Conducts Economic Impact Analysis

Regular readers of the blog know MTD provides over 13 million rides per year. They may also know our bus fleet is made up of 102 buses and we’re looking forward to expanding the fleet this summer. But in this post, we’re going to share some numbers you haven’t heard before.

The economic impact of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, with an annual budget of 44.6 million, is vast. To quantify the direct impacts, MTD contracted with TischlerBise who studied the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

You can read the full report on MTD’s website. It is found under the heading “Planning Documents.”

Direct Economic Impact

Let’s start with the big picture. When aggregating jobs, purchases of goods and services, and capital improvement projects, MTD generates a direct annual economic benefit of almost $35 million and 432 jobs.

"champaign-urbana" "mass transit district" "economic" "impact" "annual"

This figure breaks down MTD’s annual direct economic benefit, which totals $34,800,000 and 432 jobs.

Covered frequently on the blog are MTD’s capital projects which include our Maintenance Facility Expansion and bus purchases. Because capital projects occur over several years, TischlerBase examined the impact of these projects cumulatively over a ten-year period. They found between fiscal years 2010 through 2020, MTD will generate almost $60 million in additional direct local public investment and create an additional 385 local jobs.

Another way to look at these large numbers is per dollar.

For every $1 in local property taxes received annually for operations, CUMTD generates $4.43 in external funding.

For every $1 in local property taxes for capital improvement projects, CUMTD receives a projected $5.23 from non-local public sources.

"champaign-urbana" "mass transit district" "operating revenues" "illinois" "IDOT"

FY2014: $6.7 million (18%) of MTD’s funding came from local property taxes. The majority of MTD’s funding came from the State of Illinois through dedicated transit grant funds at $21.2 million (60%).

Payroll and Jobs

MTD currently has 350 full-time and part-time employees. This includes our bus operators, maintenance technicians, administrative staff, customer service representatives, and more. In fiscal year 2014, MTD’s payroll totaled $16,504,732.

87% of MTD employees reside in the Champaign-Urbana MSA. The resulting direct income within the C-U MSA is approximately $14,227,689 each year for MTD’s active and retired employees.

Purchased Goods and Services

From office supplies to furniture, from bus replacement parts to uniforms, MTD calls on vendors near and far to keep the wheels moving.

MTD spent approximately $27 million on non-payroll expenditures to operate the system. Of that amount, approximately $13 million, or almost 50%, was spent within the Champaign-Urbana Metro area at local businesses.

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MTD’s spent 49% on goods and services in the C-U MSA. 27% was spent in Illinois and 24% was spent outside the state.

Estimates concluded that this amount of local spending, analyzed alongside the purchases made, creates 44 jobs in Champaign County. This generates “$2.04 million in labor income and approximately $7.2 million in direct annual economic output to the local economy” (p.21).

Even more jobs are created locally when analyzing our capital projects and the resulting construction.

$60 million in local expenditures on construction projects and capital improvements generates 385 direct jobs in the County, resulting in an additional labor income of $25 million.

Local School Districts

Thanks to the annual transportation contracts with area middle and high schools, MTD saves the school districts an estimated total of $1.4 million annually.

"champaign-urbana" "unit 4" "urbana 116" "school" "transportation" "mass transit district" "cost"

Approximately 50% of Champaign and Urbana school district enrollment is served by MTD (6,820 of 14,160) at a cost of only 7% ($482,782 out of $7.4 million) of total transportation budgets. This cost is drastically lower than in surrounding communities of similar size as well.

Phase One of Two

The report summarized in this post covered the direct economic impacts of MTD to our local economy. Phase Two of TischlerBise’s report will examine the indirect and induced benefits to our economy due to MTD’s services.

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Green Light: Preparing for Bike Month 2016

"champaign" "urbana" "bike month" "market at the square"

A popular event returning for Bike Month 2016 is Bike to the Urbana’s Market at the Square!

Next month is National Bike Month. Throughout the country, and right here in Champaign-Urbana, special events for bicyclists occur during the month of May.

Reflecting on Bike Month 2015

Last year the CU Bike Month Planning Team directed all participant donations to Phase One of the Kickapoo Rail Trail. A total of $11,000 was raised by over 300 Bike Month participants. Thanks to many generous donors, including those who donated through CU Bike Month, construction on the Champaign County portion of this 24.5 mile bike and pedestrian trail is expected to begin this month! The trail will run from Champaign-Urbana to Danville right through Kickapoo State Park.

Let the Planning Begin

Many local organizations and agencies come together each year to plan Bike Month in Champaign-Urbana. Champaign County Bikes (CCB) leads the charge, with staff from the following agencies serving on the Planning Team:

  • Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
  • Champaign-Urbana Safe Routes to School Project
  • City of Champaign
  • City of Urbana
  • Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
  • Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Village of Savoy
  • Urbana Park District
  • Champaign Park District
  • Champaign County Forest Preserve District/Kickapoo Rail Trail
  • The Bike Project
  • Prairie Cycle Club

The Planning Team held their first meeting in January and have been eagerly brainstorming events, t-shirt design, and fundraising for the past three months.

Big Plans

Champaign-Urbana will celebrate Bike to Work Day on Tuesday, May 3 this year. This day is devoted to promoting bicycling as a viable commuting option for residents of all experience levels. Participants are encouraged to stop by Welcome Stations located throughout Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy. The Planning Team especially encourages people who have never before commuted by bike to participate. In past years, 20% of all cyclists visiting Welcome Stations were first time bike commuters.

The Planning Team has scheduled some great events for next month, in addition to Bike to Work Day:

  • Pump You Up in the Park (May 1): to kickoff bike month, volunteers will set up in various parks around town to help give your bike tires a little boost. Volunteers will inflate tires and help you fix your flat tires.
  • Bike to School Day (May 4): a day to celebrate elementary, middle school, and high school students travelling to school by bike.
  • Bike to Market Saturdays (every Saturday in May): volunteers will be set up at Urbana’s Market at the Square to welcome market-goers who arrive by bike.
  • Kickapoo Rail Trail Groundbreaking Celebration (May 22): join us at the Tatman Commercial Building (201 South Industrial Circle, Urbana) for a toast and groundbreaking to commemorate the occassion. Please RSVP to lsprinkle@ccpfd.org.
  • Bike Month Awards Night/Bike Movie Night (May 31): The Art Theater will host a screening of the film Bikes vs. Cars and a number of participation awards will be presented to Bike Month participants.
  • Pop-up Bike to Work Events (May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31): each Tuesday in May will feature one station for bicycle commuters to stop by on their ride home to or from work.

Big Goals: Youth Bike Education

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Bike rodeos for children are valuable to increase safety and bicycling skills. An updated trailer and fleet of youth bikes enables these events to occur regularly and successfully.

The main fundraising goal for Bike Month in Champaign-Urbana this year is a Youth Bike Education Fleet and Trailer. The bike fleet and trailer will serve as a continuous, long-term promoter of youth bike education in Champaign County. Jeff Yockey, Chair of the CU Bike Month Planning Team and Executive Director of CCB, describes this need:

“Community-wide youth bicycle education is a key need and strategy to increase bicycling numbers and safety in the future. One resource needed to support bike education in schools, parks, and on the new Kickapoo Rail Trail is a fleet of youth bicycles that can be transported from place to place in a dedicated enclosed trailer, along with helmets, bike tools, and the cones and signs used for conducting an on-site bike training event.”

Adult participants in our Bike Month Events will be asked to make a donation to this project and each donor will receive a 2016 CU Bike Month t-shirt in return. The Planning Team is also seeking sponsors to help with the purchase of the trailer. If you are interested in contributing to the trailer purchase, contact Jeff Yockey at Jeff@ChampaignCountyBikes.org.

We hope to see you (and your bike) out there during Bike Month!

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MTD is Introducing an Adopt-a-Shelter Program

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This is one of MTD’s bus shelters located at Bradley & McKinley. And as of this blog post, it is available for adopting!

This post was written by MTD’s Marketing Manager, Jan Kijowksi.

On April 4, MTD will launch an Adopt-a-Shelter Program for our approximately 100 bus shelters in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, and on the University of Illinois campus. Anyone with an interest is invited to apply; those interested may include individuals, businesses, community groups, and student associations. Everyone is welcome to send in an application. Adopters will be acknowledged in our promotions and with a sticker affixed to the shelter.

Adopters will be given a (one time) Monthly Pass and cleaning supplies such as a broom and dustpan, squeegee and spray bottle, and trash bags. It is asked that the adopter clean his/her shelter at least once each month during the one-year term. Responsibilities include cleaning the shelter windows, picking/sweeping up litter, and ensuring that up-to-date information is posted at the shelter. It is asked that MTD be immediately notified of any damage, vandalism, or dangerous situation so that we may quickly rectify such problems.

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This is the bus shelter on Kirby & Valley. As of this blog post, it’s available for adoption!

Why an Adopt-a-Shelter Program?

MTD has a dedicated Maintenance team that routinely cares for our bus shelters. There’s nothing better, however, than having someone keep an eye on things who is frequently at the shelter. The adopter can readily note day-to-day changes and problems that may arise. It’s extremely important that the waiting environment be safe and tidy for our customers and your neighbors.

If you’re interested in adopting a shelter, please send an email to adoptashelter@cumtd.com or give us a call at 217.384.8188. If you have a particular shelter in mind, let us know. We’ll get you all of the information that you need and send you an application and waiver.

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MTD Transitions to a New Phone System

MTD will explore and adopt new and innovative technologies that improve service delivery to anticipate, meet, and exceed community expectations.

This is one of the seven goals detailed in MTD’s 2014 Strategic Plan. The phone system and intake of calls to 217.384.8188 was in need of a technological advance and redesign. MTD purchased, began testing, and phasing in a new phone system called ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) earlier this year.

Was it worthwhile to invest in a new technology to handle incoming phone calls? In MTD’s 2014 Annual Passholder survey, 21% of respondents said their primary tool to get information about MTD routes, schedules, and services was by a phone call to MTD. So even with our robust website and suite of mobile apps, MTD’s customer service line is still very much lit up!

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MTD’s Administration and Operations Facility is home to one of MTD’s two Customer Service Centers. Calls to the main MTD line, 217.384.8188, are handled at this facility in Urbana.

Improving Customer Experiences

What were the limitations of MTD’s previous phone system? There were several shortcomings. The old system had six lines which means only six people could call at one time. When all lines were occupied, Customer Service staff could not answer any additional calls. This increased customer wait times at peak call volumes.

During peak times, our main line typically receives 10 to 12 calls at once. The new system allows MTD to receive 23 calls at once. This is a major upgrade from the six lines.

MTD did not previously collect data on incoming calls. Data is key to monitor performance and to justify staffing and investment in resources. The new system provides everything from total number of calls by the minute, hour, and day; average call duration; wait time before a call is answered; peak call volumes sorted by hour and day of the week; call abandonment rate; performance by extension; and more.

The data will enable MTD to better understand our phone answering needs and in turn how to adequately staff throughout the weekday, evening, and weekend.

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MTD staffs extra operators, called “shows,” to fill in for the unexpected. Until they are needed, these extra operators answer incoming calls.

The data is also valuable outside of MTD’s day-to-day operations. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and other reporting agencies audit the District on a regular basis. When our ADA compliance is reviewed, phone data can be used as a means of validating adequate accessibility. Every three years, the District undergoes a rigorous Triennial Review conducted by the FTA. The success of this audit ensures the District’s continued access to Federal funding.

Pardon Our Phone Glitches

Thanks for being patient with us as we phase in and fully launch this new system. If your call is disconnected or you experience a long wait, please know it’s because we’re on the road to improvement!

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