March 30, 2017
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Next Stop: Boneyard Arts Festival

Boneyard Arts Festival 2017

In its fifteenth year, this vibrant, annual arts festival will permeate Champaign-Urbana & surrounds next Thursday, April 6 thru Sunday, April 9.

Champaign County, IL- 40 North, Champaign County’s Arts Council, will host their annual Boneyard Arts Festival throughout Champaign County over 4 days next week. The events will be held in over 100 venues and feature the work of local sculptors, painters and photographers, as well as performances by musicians, actors, dancers and more.

Even MTD buses will serve as galleries of sort, featuring local art as part of our ongoing collaboration with 40 North for MTD Art.

Coinciding with Mom’s Weekend at Illinois, Boneyard draws thousands of students and community members alike. View participating local artists and peruse events, venues and mediums, then head over to to plan your trips on public transit.

Current MTD Art: Christina Nordholm, Lush, encaustic

“MTD ART began with an idea from a passenger. He noticed the interior advertising space on our buses and wondered if it could hold more than messages from community businesses and organizations. This passenger was also an artist, so when he called MTD’s Marketing Director Jan Kijowski he pitched the idea of community art submissions occupying some of the overhead panels.” :The Inside Lane, November 2013



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You Said Yes

You Said Yes

University of Illinois students overwhelmingly vote YES on student fee referendum for MTD services.

On March 8th and 9th, University of Illinois students voted YES to continuing to fund the MTD at current rates through fiscal year 2021. The Illinois Student Senate resolution passed with a YES vote of 85% and a significant increase in voter turnout.

Thank you! MTD is proud of our partnership with the University of Illinois and we look forward to continuing to serve Campustown’s needs in ever evolving ways.  Since 1989, MTD has provided accessible transportation to Illinois administration, faculty and students, offering mobility options that include buses, ADA Paratransit, ZipCar availability, SafeRides home for Illinois students at night, and resources to encourage walkability, biking, and safety.

Your support and feedback are critical and appreciated and allow MTD to continue the good work of providing safe & reliable transit on campus. Please get in touch with suggestions or comments at 217/384-8188 or

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Spring Break Service Reductions 2017

"MTD" "bus" "university of illinois" "hybrid" "Green Street" "pedestrians

Who knows what the weather will look like before, during, and after spring break. At least you can count on MTD rain, snow, and shine!

The University of Illinois Spring Break is coming up! MTD will reduce service beginning Saturday, March 18 through the following Saturday, March 25. We’ll return to full and regular service on Sunday, March 26.

You Know the Drill

The reductions are the same as those for Winter Break and are focused on campus.

The 12 Teal and 13 Silver operate 20-minute frequency during the weekday daytime. Trips on those schedules with the “U” footnote will not operate.

The 130 Silver Limited will operate during the weekday evenings and throughout the weekend. It’s important to review the map of the 130 Silver Limited because it is abbreviated from the regular Silver.

The 22/220 Illini Limited operates 30-minute frequency and limited routing during all day types. Regular Teal, Silver, and Illini routing and frequency will resume Sunday, March 26.

There will be no late night service (after midnight) on the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini. 335 SafeRides operates reduced service during UI Breaks. Reservations will be made until 12:00 am and are served by one van. Designated pick up locations are not served. Full SafeRides service will resume the evening of Sunday, March 26 at 7:00 pm.

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Sign up for MTD’s personalized alert service, MyRIDE. It takes a few minutes to set up and MTD promises to keep your information on lockdown.

MTD will not operate Sunday evening and late night service on March 19. There will also be no 335 SafeRides because when the University of Illinois is not in session, MTD does not operate any evening or late night service. This also affects the 50 Green, 100 Yellow, 120 Teal, 130 Silver, and 220 Illini. Service will end on that day in the 5 o’clock pm hour.

Finally, the 2 Red Express trips, designated with “L” and “U” footnotes, do not operate Monday through Friday.

Stay in the Know

Sign up for MTD’s MyRIDE to receive personalized service reminders and alerts to your email and/or by text message. This will also come in handy as the MCORE Project advances.

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Green Light: MCORE Construction Begins

The MCORE Project is underway! The first shovel hit the ground today, Monday, March 6, on Green Street in Champaign. The work in this phase will require the reroute of MTD’s 5/50 Green and 5 Green Express Routes . The transformative $44 Million Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) Project will start improving mobility in the core of our community with work on the first two projects: Green Street in Champaign and Green Street in Urbana.

MCORE, Green Street, Locust Street, construction, reroutes

A view of the projected MCORE Project timeline for Project 1.

Green Street: Champaign

Construction begins with sanitary sewer work during the week of March 6. The road will be closed to through traffic, but access to properties will be maintained via alternative routes and businesses will remain open throughout construction.

During this phase, Illinois American Water will be doing water main work on Green Street between Neil Street and Fourth Street to replace an aged and undersized section of existing water main which has experienced an increase in break frequency. The existing water main will remain active while the new water main is installed and tested. The water main will be installed, tested, and put in service by November of 2017 with any remaining work occurring in 2018. Once the water main installation and service transfers have been completed, all excavated areas will be restored.

Green Street: Urbana

Construction begins in the area in front of the Illini Union during the week of March 13, weather permitting. Initial work will be on the water main travelling along the southern edge of Green Street. Water main work will begin on the southeast corner of Green Street and Wright Street. As the construction crew works their way east, bus stops will be relocated along Green Street. Street reconstruction work is expected to begin May 22, weather permitting. Check out the City of Urbana’s Project Website for more details.

MTD Reroutes

MTD routes will be impacted by the various construction phases. MTD customers are encouraged to visit the MTD website and subscribe to MyRIDE for custom alerts about reroutes for their favorite routes. Alerts are sent to an email and/or text address whenever reroutes are required.

Follow the Progress

MTD will use our Flickr Page to give our community an inside look at each Project’s progress. Stay tuned for new sets and images as our community looks forward to much improved infrastructure in these key corridors. Stay informed on Facebook (@MCORECU), Twitter (@mcoreproject), and email subscription (

Project partners (the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), would like to thank you for your cooperation and patience as this important project gets underway. All Campustown businesses will continue to be open and reachable throughout the entire project.

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Student Transportation on the Ballot

University of Illinois, MTD, CUMTD, bus, university housing, PAR, FAR, 13 Silver

For residents living in Pennsylvania and Florida Avenue Residence Halls, 10 minute service on multiple routes means greater connections to class, CRCE, RSO meetings, and more.

iCard Holders Unite

Love your fare-free MTD service? Thanks to a partnership that began in 1989, University of Illinois and MTD began offering universal access to fixed-route services and 335 SafeRides. A semester fee is collected and students can ride all day, all night, and all around the town.

Faculty, staff, and retirees of the University gain their universal access through one fund and the undergraduate and graduate students through another. Every three years, the contract is renegotiated and representatives from the Office of the Vice Chancellor and the Illinois Student Senate sit down with MTD Staff to cover what should stay, what should be added, and what should go. These representatives put together a new contract with a student fee. A ballot measure on the fee is put to the student body to vote on. That time is upon us!

Vote Yes

The 2017 Illinois Student Election is March 8 and 9. Students will receive an email with voting details and a link to cast your ballot. There is one question related to MTD and the UI Student Transportation Fee.

Do you recommend changes to the Transportation Fee, according to the following schedule, to fund the continuation of existing CUMTD Bus Service under the Campus Transportation Plan for Fiscal Years 2019, 2020, and 2021?

If you vote yes on the one question you are saying:

  • Keep the MTD service offerings the same. Keep the 10-minute frequencies and the 60-foot articulated buses for those crush loads. Keep the late night service after midnight and 335 SafeRides.
  • $62 will be collected in both the Fall and Spring Semesters. If you’re enrolled in the Summer I session you’ll pay $25 and another $25 if you’re enrolled in Summer II. Both of these fees are lower than the current fee.
  • This is a reduction in the Summer Session Fees, and the Fall and Spring Semester Fees remain what they were in the last year of the current contract. MTD is not proposing a fee increase for any of the three future contract years.

MTD is honored to serve the Fighting Illini. We connect students to classes across campus in those tight 10 minute class changes. We love bringing you into Champaign-Urbana to work, volunteer, shop, and explore. MTD is committed to improving campus safety. Service past 3 am on five fixed-routes and three to four vans on 335 SafeRides are important contributing factors.

Please participate in the annual Illinois Student Senate election and please vote yes to continue great transportation service and access.

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MCORE Project Open House

MCORE Project, Green, Wright, bus, project 1, city of Urbana

Part of Project 1, Green Street between Wright Street and Lincoln Avenue is part of a critical and historic transportation link between downtown Urbana and the heart of Campustown.

As previously reported, MCORE work and resulting road closures are beginning in early March 2017.

Duce Construction will host a pre-construction Open House this Wednesday, February 22 from 3 to 7 pm. The Open House will be at 24 East Green Street, Suite 19 in Champaign. This address is located just east of the railroad tracks and west of Locust Street. Attendees can enter from the west side of the building and follow signs to the upper level.

Why You Should Attend

Representatives from all four of the project partners, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, University of Illinois, and MTD, will be in attendance to answer questions and hear your feedback.

“This Open House is an opportunity for residents to view construction plans and ask any questions of the construction team and project partners,” said Jane Sullivan, MTD’s Grant Manager/Sustainability Planner.

MTD staff will be present throughout the event to provide riders anticipated reroute plans for each project.

"mcore" "open house" "project"

The MCORE Project Partners hosted an open house in September 2015 to show plans for all five projects and gather public input.

Past and Upcoming Communications

Duce Construction has sent notices to all residents and property owners adjacent to the project limits. People who signed up to receive email notices from the MCORE Project have been notified of the upcoming work. Finally, project partners have sent press releases and/or posted the information on their websites and social media accounts.

Once official start dates are established, the cities of Champaign and Urbana will use their communication channels to get the word out. Large LED message boards will be set up at the project sites to warn roadway users in advance of the work starting.

MTD will use our Flickr Page to give our community an inside look at each Project’s progress. Stay tuned for new sets and images as our community looks forward to much improved infrastructure in these key corridors.

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See Something, Say Something

"transit watch" "eye" "federal transit administration"

You may find this logo on our website, onboard our vehicles, and at our digital STOPwatch kiosks. It’s up to all of us to keep our eyes open!

If you see something, say something.

We all play a role in keeping our community safe. For bus riders, ADA passengers, 335 SafeRides users, and MTD Operators, the opportunities abound as we travel all over town, into neighborhoods, throughout the downtowns, and at all hours of the day and night.

MTD is a community resource that can nimbly respond to emergencies. We send warming/cooling buses when apartment buildings need to be evacuated. We take suspect information and keep our eyes peeled. And sometimes, we’re a major part in criminal apprehension.

The Department of Homeland Security‘s campaign If You See Something, Say Something seeks to “raise public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.” Their goal, and our goal, is to encourage you to report suspicious activity, unusual behavior or items, and/or eliciting information.

Talk to Your Operator

MTD Operators are trained in many safety protocols. They also have multiple means of communicating with our Control Center which can readily reach local emergency services. An MTD vehicle is never “alone” when it is on the street.

Sometimes passengers assume that the Operator saw “it.” There’s no way they could’ve missed that, is a phrase we often hear. But Operators are focusing on several things at once. There’s the upcoming passenger stop, the passenger on board asking a question, the approaching traffic light, the pedestrian entering the crosswalk, not to mention all of the surrounding vehicular traffic. So help us all be certain and let an Operator know of things like inappropriate behavior or an item left without an owner, along with any other details they may have missed such as time, general descriptions, and associated bus stops.

"transit watcher" "federal transit administration" "bags" "behavior

Be a Transit Watcher. Tell an MTD employee if you see suspicious activity or items.

Other Opportunities

If you see something at the bus stop or you don’t have an opportunity to talk to your Operator, there are other avenues to utilize.

You can call MTD at 217.384.8188 and ask to speak to a Supervisor. Whenever MTD service is on the street, we are ready and waiting at the phones.

You can also submit a Website Feedback Form or contact a member of MTD’s senior management or Board of Trustees. There are resources we can tap into even after an incident has passed.

What Safety & Security Mean to Us

At MTD, safety and security are the highest priority. Safety and security are the focus of many operational policies, training programs, and commitments. Personnel from the Department of Homeland Security as well as the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) visit MTD facilities on a regular basis to perform safety and security audits. Homeland Security visits twice a year and APTA and FTA come every three. Recommendations from these visits help MTD ensure that safety and security measures are up-to-date and effective.

You can learn more about the resources and training we utilize. And please, let us know in the comments about additional opportunities to increase awareness about reporting suspicious activity.

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Green Light: MCORE Work to Start this Spring

This press release was published by the MCORE Project Partners on February 6, 2017. Some additional content was added for publication on The Inside Lane.

"MCORE" "TIGER" "GRANT" "University of Illinois" "CUMTD" "MTD" "City of Champaign" "City of Urbana"

This map displays all five project zones of the MCORE Project.

The transformative $44 Million Multimodal Corridor Enhancement (MCORE) Project will start improving mobility in the core of our community when work begins this spring. Project partners (the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), in coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), awarded construction contracts for Projects 1, 2, and 3 to Duce Construction Company (Champaign, IL) in December.  Construction on Green, White, and Wright Streets is tentatively scheduled to proceed in early March, 2017, weather permitting.

The scale of this infrastructure improvement project on key corridors will have significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic impacts including detours and street and sidewalk closures during construction. About one week before construction begins, message boards will be placed in highly visible locations to help alert and notify the public. As MCORE work gets underway, motorists and bicyclists are encouraged to slow down, exercise caution, and obey all traffic control signs and devices when traveling through the general construction area. MTD bus routes will be rerouted as necessary and bus stops may be temporarily relocated. As work is scheduled, up-to-date information will be available at

MTD’s Managing Director, Karl Gnadt, reminds riders to stay alert.

There have been a few times where this project felt like it was close to a cliff. But the fantastic project partners worked in wondrous and creative ways to find solutions (and sometimes money) that allowed us to step away from the cliff. And now: here we are. Duce is rolling up their sleeves and about to dig in! Now the real work starts for the Champaign-Urbana Community – getting around. Please pay attention to the signs, websites, and social media and we’ll do our best to let you know what’s being affected on any given day.

The MCORE Project will improve access for all modes of transportation in critical campus and neighboring areas including Green Street, Armory Avenue, White Street, and Wright Street. The $44 Million MCORE Project is funded in part by a $15.7 Million Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Want more background?

New streetscape improvements, a transit boarding island on Green Street, reconfigured Illini Union vehicle entrance and parking, all-way pedestrian crossings, and protected bicycle lanes are several features that will enhance critical linkages from both downtowns to Campustown in the core of our community.

"mcore" "project" "white street" "bike" "bus"

This corridor of White Street is one of the five project areas targeted by the MCORE Project. The need for updated, multimodal infrastructure is clear.

Projects 1, 2, and 3 are expected to be completed by the end of 2018. See a map of the project areas above or at The final project designs include careful consideration of feedback received from stakeholder meetings and community outreach, web form submissions, and surveys from the MCORE Project Open House in May 2015.

All Campustown businesses will continue to be open and reachable throughout the entire project. Stay informed on Facebook (, Twitter (@MCOREproject), and email subscription (

MCORE partners would like to thank you for your cooperation and patience as this important project gets underway.

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Champaign County Area Restaurant Week

"downtown Champaign" "neil street" "main street" "church street" "hybrid bus" "big grove tavern"

All bus stops in downtown Champaign and downtown Urbana are marked with bus stop signs. They denote which route and in which directions they will serve the stop.

Our micro-urban community has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike. From Big 10 Sports to music festivals, from art exhibits to sprawling parks, it’s hard not to fall head over heels with Chambana.

Visit Champaign County is encouraging residents to get out and fill up on the delicious eats crafted by restaurants in and around Champaign-Urbana. For their inaugural Restaurant Week, Visit Champaign County is directing diners to visit participating restaurants throughout this week (January 29 through February 5) for deals on lunch and dinner, with lunch starting at $8 and dinner at $15, $25 or $35.

Get There By Bus

Many of the participating restaurants are in either downtown Urbana or downtown Champaign. This makes getting there by public transportation easy…in fact, maybe too easy. So consider letting MTD take care of the transportation while you enjoy to the fullest!

Both downtowns are served by several routes through the 11:00 pm hour. There is also service after midnight on a few routes, but they may not get you to your return destination as they do not travel as far into the community.

Downtown Urbana weekday evening route options include the 50 Green/GREENhopper, 70 Grey, 110 Ruby, and 130 Silver.

Downtown Champaign weekday evening route options include the 50 Green/GREENhopper, 70 Grey, 100 Yellow, and 120 Teal.

"downtown Urbana" "main street" "race street" "hybrid bus"

Your Operator is also there to help! Don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance as you navigate MTD’s service.

Navigation Simplified

We often hear new bus riders say they are intimidated when trying to read a schedule and interpret a route map. They want to try transit, but don’t want to get on in the wrong direction or miss a trip and be stuck waiting. We get it.

MTD offers a robust trip planner that does all the thinking for you. You can access the trip planner on our website or on one of our community built apps. Both tools can take addresses, intersections, and landmarks and the search functions are simultaneously powered by MTD’s data and Google search results.

Each MTD bus is equipped with a GPS tracker that sends an updated location signal every 30 to 60 seconds. This increases safety, helps our Dispatchers monitor the service, and for our passengers, it powers real-time departure estimates. You can track when your bus will leave the exact stop you’re standing at by text message, our mobile site, or through one of the aforementioned mobile apps.

Whenever You Call, We’ll Be There

Whenever MTD has service on the street, we have humans answering the phone. You won’t even have to press any additional buttons to clarify the purpose of your call. Simply call 217.384.8188 and a representative can answer your navigation, fare payment, and where do I stand questions.

So while you consider trying some new eats, consider trying transit. As this Chambanamoms contributor wrote of her family’s recent trip:

The entire system was seemingly designed for families. The adventure consisted of good eats and a lot of exploration. A perfect Saturday excursion. Keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer while looking at our community from a new perspective.

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How to Love SafeRides and Let it Love You Back

"CUMTD" "MTD" "SafeRides"

Passengers board at one of the three designated pick up locations, the Illini Union.

This post was originally published on February 18, 2013. It is a useful reminder about how to use SafeRides plus gives insight into how this special service operates.

Last Thursday I celebrated Valentine’s Day in true transit bliss: I spent my night on an MTD vehicle. I rode 335 SafeRides with a veteran, and recently made famous operator, Lin Jayne. My reasons for riding were two-fold:

  1. Learn how the system works from cradle (the initial call) to grave (dropping a passenger off).

  2. Gain the operator’s perspective to better inform the public.

“Hey Sugar, Happy Valentine’s Day!” Lin greeted me as I boarded at the Illini Union at 10 pm and she handed me a heart-shaped lollipop. Our night together was off to a sweet start.

The Rule of Threes

Sunday through Wednesday, three vans work together to serve the 335 SafeRides boundary area. An additional van is added Thursday through Saturday as a backup. The three vans serve distinct areas, although overlap is inevitable and occurs often.

The East van operates from Vine Street and Mathews Avenue, east to west, to University Avenue and Windsor Road, north to south. This may seem like a large service area, but the demand is less. The Northwest van operates from Mathews Avenue and State Street, east to west, to University Avenue and Green Street, north to south. The Southwest van fills in the rest from Wright Street and State Street, east to west, to Green Street and Windsor Road, north to south.

There are three designated pickup locations that are served twice an hour from 9:00 pm until 3:00 am – the period of most demand.

The East serves Illinois Street Residence Halls (ISR) at :27 and :57 after the hour and heads directly to the Illini Union for the :00 and :30 pickup. The Northwest reports to the Illini Union at :00 and :30 as well. The Southwest serves Armory & Wright (Main Library) at :27 and :57 and goes, you guessed it, to the Illini Union.

The Illini Union is the linchpin for 335 SafeRides. Every 30 minutes, all three vans meet in the Illini Union’s circle drive. Passengers that were picked up by the Southwest are transferred to the East, the Northwest transfers passengers to the Southwest, and so on.

“Our goal is to get you off the street,” Lin stressed. “Not provide a speedy ride. Sometimes your ride will be quick, but other times you will have to wait until I can transfer you.”

The Rule Breakers, the No-Shows, and the Confused

The cardinal rules of 335 SafeRides are thus:

"CUMTD" "MTD" "SafeRides"

Serving a scheduled pick up on Third Street.

“Three persons or less at the pick up location.” Time is wasted when callers misreport the number of people in their party, which then forces a SafeRides operator to spend time negotiating with the large group instead of getting to the next pick up.

“The trip cannot duplicate fixed-route service.” Many trip requests are turned down because the trip origin and destination are already served by fixed routes. “In many instances, you can walk just one block and get to the Illini or two blocks to get to the Green. I’m worried about the kids who have to walk ten blocks who I’m not getting to as quickly,” Lin said. If you want to walk to fixed-route service, but don’t feel safe walking alone, call SafeWalks.

“The operator will only wait two minutes for passengers.” The number of no-shows and the resulting time wasted is high. While Lin and all other SafeRides operators worry about what may detain a caller, they must move on to other scheduled pickups.

The confused are unsure where they’re going or are simultaneously finalizing plans with friends as they ride. This is not efficient for the operator or other passengers on board/waiting to board.

Lin’s Tips:

  • Know the intersection or address for your origin and destination.

  • Treat your assigned pick up time like the start of an exam and don’t be late.

  • When exiting the van, walk around the back of the vehicle and look for traffic. Just as you would when exiting a bus!

  • SafeRides vans are not crossing guards. Use crosswalks and wait for traffic signals!

  • Wave at MTD vans and buses if you want to board. “It’s so dark out here that sometimes I can’t tell if you’re a light post or a tiny person!”

  • Call your mom!

SafeRides vans are continuously winding throughout the boundary area, serving a new pickup every three minutes, and keeping an eye on riders and pedestrians that are in need.  MTD Dispatchers communicate with the University of Illinois Police Department on a weekly, sometimes nightly basis as incidences are reported by operators or anonymous callers.

It is clear that 335 SafeRides is a valuable and needed service but one that we all must understand and respect. As Lin says to all departing passengers, “Thanks for playing!”

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