May 2, 2016
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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.

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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.

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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

"adopt" "bus" "shelter" "CUMTD" "MTD" "Champaign" "bus stop"

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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Spring Break Service Reductions 2016

Spring may officially begin on March 20, 2016, but it already feels like it’s here! Daylight Saving Time began yesterday and the weather forecast for the week ahead is warm and rainy. Because of the increased daylight, beginning March 13, 2016, 335 SafeRides now begins operating at 7 pm instead of 5 pm. The increased daylight helps to increase safety on campus.

And with spring break around the corner, it’s also time to review the University of Illinois spring break-inspired service reductions.

What’s Affected, When, and How

MTD will run full UI service through Friday, March 18. This includes all scheduled late night trips and 335 SafeRides. Beginning Saturday, March 19 and continuing through the following Saturday, March 26, MTD will reduce service on these routes:

The 2 Red Express trips are marked in the 2 Red schedule with “L” and “U” footnotes. These trips do not operate during UI service reductions.

The 12 Teal and 13 Silver Weekday Daytime schedules will not operate trips with the “U” footnote. This reduces service on these routes to every 20 minutes.

The 22/220 will operate the Illini Limited through all daytypes. This not only reduces frequency to every 30 minutes but the route that operates is shortened.

The 130 Silver Limited will operate during the weekday evening and weekend. The frequency is every 20 minutes and the route is also shortened.

335 SafeRides is reduced. Beginning Saturday, March 19, the service will operate from 7 pm until 12:30 am with reservations taken until midnight. The service will be operated by fewer vehicles and the half hour timepoints at the Illini Union, Illinois Street Residence Hall, and the Main Library (Armory & Wright) are not served.

MTD provides late night trips, after midnight, on the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini. These trips will not operate during the UI Spring Break.

Sunday, March 20 will be a non-UI Sunday, which means there is no evening and late night service. Year-round, MTD’s Sunday service combines evening and late night trips. The routes that operate during this time are the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini. These trips will not operate in the evening (or late night) on Sunday, March 20. There is also no SafeRides service at all that Sunday.

MTD will be closed on Sunday, March 27 in observance of the Easter Holiday. Thanks for making adjustments as MTD employees enjoy the holiday with family.

"cumtd" "mtd" "trip planner" "bus"

The top half display the initial trip planning options of selecting an origin and destination. The bottom half show the trip customization options.

Local Schools

MTD alters trips on our fixed route service to provide transportation to Champaign and Urbana Middle and High Schools. These trips are open to the public. But these trips will not operate March 21-25 when the schools are on spring break as the transportation is not necessary.

If you’re not sure if your trip is affected, let our Trip Planner help. The school trips will not display as options during that week. You can test your trip the day of your travel or do it in advance. Simply set the date and preferred arrival or departure time on the second navigation page (pictured right).

Service Reductions End

MTD will return to full service on Monday, March 28. All limited trips will cease and full frequency will be restored! That night will also see the return of late night service as well as full 335 SafeRides.

For those who have next week off, enjoy! And happy spring to all.

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Green Light: We’re Expecting! Summer 2016 Delivery Date

MTD will welcome 12 new members to our fleet “family” this summer. Manufacturing will begin for our 40-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses in mid-May. The first few buses will be delivered in late June. Additional buses will be delivered throughout July and you’ll start seeing these new members on the street early fall 2016.

What They’re Made of

Hybrid buses operate with greater fuel efficiency and much lower emissions compared to standard diesel buses. The new buses will use slightly different hybrid technology than the hybrid buses MTD currently runs. The transmission is a series configuration manufactured by BAE Systems (as opposed to the parallel configuration utilized by our current hybrids).

The diesel engine powers a generator, which starts the engine and provides power to the electric motor and the batteries. The electric motor is what turns the wheels of the bus. When the bus slows down the motor functions as a generator by recapturing energy, which is stored in batteries for later use. The batteries then provide power when the bus accelerates. The engine automatically turns off when the bus stops and automatically turns on once the bus begins to travel. A propulsion control system oversees the distribution of energy, making sure it goes to the right place at the right time.

 

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A simplified diagram of the elements of the configuration of a parallel series hybrid bus.

More Rides with Less Fuel

Thanks to the electric motor and the batteries, hybrid buses use less diesel fuel. This allows MTD to move more people with less energy. The number of passenger rides per gallon of diesel fuel has been increasing for the past five years. This is a function of high ridership and low fuel usage. We’ve been adding hybrid buses to our fleet gradually since 2009. In 2010, MTD provided just over 12 passenger rides for every gallon of diesel fuel. Last fiscal year, this number was up to over 17 riders per gallon. We like where these numbers are heading!

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This graph shows the average number of MTD passenger rides per gallon of diesel fuel from 2010 to 2015.

Nine of the new buses delivered in 2016 will be expansion vehicles and will not replace any buses in the fleet. This will increase MTD’s fleet from 102 buses to 111 buses. We’ll say goodbye to three 13-year-old 40-foot standard diesel buses and replace them with three new diesel-electric hybrids. This bus order will bring MTD”s fleet to 60% hybrid.

What about the new buses excites you most? Increased fuel efficiency? Improved environmental impacts? Or inhaling that new bus smell? Let us know in the comments!

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So You Want to Be a Bus Driver?

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An MTD Operator performs a pre-trip inspection as he takes over a bus at Lincoln Square.

Whether you’re ready to submit an application or on the fence, here are eight facts about the application and training process for MTD Bus Operators.

1. You must be 21 years of age or older to be an MTD Bus Operator.

Our operators are trusted with precious cargo. They’re also driving expensive equipment. The District only accepts applicants who are at least 21 years old because we value a job history that points to experience and maturity.

2. A good driving record is the key.

Related to age is experience and for MTD’s purposes, we want to review a driving record that’s been aged.

3. We need candidates who are committed to public service.

If you enjoy driving but don’t enjoy working with people, we suggest looking into over the road trucking. At MTD, we’re in business to serve our passengers and the public at large.

4. You must be healthy and clean.

A pre-employment physical and drug screen is mandatory. This is strictly enforced by MTD and the State and Federal agencies to whom we report.

5. Welcome, aboard! Let’s hit the books.

Congratulations, you’re hired! Our Safety & Training Department is top of the line. They have a thorough road mapped ahead for you and your classmates.

The first two to three weeks are spent in the classroom and using our training simulators. This gets trainees educated so they may go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to be tested for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Permit. Once the tests are passed, it’s time to get behind the wheel.

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“TRAINING BUS / DO NOT BOARD” – a popular headsign seen around town.

6. All aboard! Next stop, Commercial Driver’s License.

Permit in hand, you’ll meet our buses. Our Trainers spend weeks teaching the operating maneuvers and driving regulations required to pass the State of Illinois Commercials Driver’s License examination.

Time is dedicated to train on each vehicle type in MTD’s fleet. Trainees get comfortable on every size (30-foot, 40-foot, 60-foot, and large passenger vans) and model of bus (2001, 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2013).

7. You are now licensed to serve.

Pump the breaks, rookie. Newly CDL licensed operators still have a lot to learn about operating in service and working with the public. A team of Line Instructors share their routes with trainees for several weeks. The trainees schedules are rotated so they can experience multiple routes and learn how to provide service at different times of day.

8. Pick some hours and roll out!

You’re going to do great. New operators are enrolled in our internal mentorship program for the first year of employment. We also conduct summer review annually to address current issues and provide a refresher. Opportunities for improvement are also identified with one-on-one review.

Want More?

Ready to apply? Here’s the job description and our job application.

There are also 14 blog posts in the Training Category of this blog that go into extensive detail about the process. Some of these posts date back to 2011, so please keep that in mind as some regulations, procedures, and practices have changed.

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MTD Named a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business

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Captured by the News-Gazette, MTD was featured in September 1998 for initiating our fleet-wide installation of bus bike racks.

Last week, the League of American Bicyclists recognized MTD with a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) award. We’re honored to join other visionary businesses from across the country who share this distinction!

This latest round brings the total national number of local businesses and government agencies participating in the Bicycle Friendly Business program to 1,132.

Why This Award Matters

If you ask the League of American Bicyclists, they point to stronger communities. “The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business Program Manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses, including MTD, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

The health and environmental benefits are easy to calculate. Research confirms that people who bicycle save money not only on transportation but also in health care costs.

If you ask local advocates, they appreciate the commitment it entails. “I welcome the news that the League of American Bicyclists is recognizing MTD as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business,” says Jeff Yockey, Executive Director of Champaign County Bikes. “This award recognizes MTD not only for their work in the community, but their work and commitment to their employees! MTD practices what it encourages: an active transportation lifestyle.”

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One way MTD supports bicycling is dedicating time and resources to the annual C-U Bike Month in May.

If you ask our Managing Director, Karl Gnadt, he’d say the connection is simple. “MTD’s Mission is to lead the way to greater mobility. This means we’re advocates of all forms of mobility – not just public transportation. This award is an example of the District’s commitment.”

MTD encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation by providing amenities like bicycle racks on all our buses, bicycle parking at major transit hubs, and bicycle lockers for rent at Illinois Terminal. Bike parking is available at our facilities and our Administration & Operations Facility offers employees lockers, showers, and a bicycle repair shed.

We’ve also been an active participant in community initiatives to support bicycling as a mode of transportation. MTD’s efforts to create a bicycle friendly community helped secure the $16.7 million dollar TIGER grant for the MCORE Project that is rebuilding core transit routes to improve safety for all roadway users, including bicyclists.

Thanks to the League, MTD will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance to become even more bicycle-friendly. When our employees bike, great things happen: decreased carbon footprint, reduced health care costs, connections to the community, and a fun and healthy work culture.

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