Bloomington Downtown Transfer Center Study
Connect Transit's mission is to provide safe, reliable transportation and access to opportunities to strengthen and enrich individual lives, our community, the economy and the environment. This mission is achieved through 15 fixed routes and Connect Mobility, Connect's Americans with Disabilities Act paratransit service.
Connect Transit serves 1,500 passengers daily at the Front Street transfer point. This is Connect’s second busiest transfer point in a bus system providing approximately 2.4 million rides per year. Over the last 15 years, Connect Transit has needed to relocate the Bloomington transfer center to a more expansive location for buses and passenger amenities. In recent years, Connect has applied for federal and state funding to build a new transfer center in various locations in Downtown Bloomington. The most recent Connect Transit strategic plan, approved earlier this year, has again identified building a transfer center in Downtown Bloomington.
A new Downtown transfer center would allow Connect Transit to reduce inefficiencies that limit the current Front Street transfer center facility. The new facility will allow buses to enter two ways, providing an increase in straight-line routing and reducing the time and mileage required to go around the block to make each route align perfectly with Front Street. These increased routing efficiencies will allow for maximized on-time performance in and out of Downtown Bloomington, improving system performance across the entire system. In the event of a delay, however, the new transfer center would be able to communicate real-time information to customers, making them aware of potential detours and alternative routing options, which Connect Transit is unable to provide at its current Front Street location.
The transfer center will improve access for existing transit users and transit-dependent customers by providing a safe and convenient place to access transit, out of the elements, with increased customer service opportunities such as ticket vending, and a customer service desk. Customers would also be able to access increased real-time bus tracking information providing information on arriving and departing buses.
Public transportation facilities are critical to attracting talent to the community and are significant components in developing walkable, bikeable, welcoming communities for both younger and more senior populations. Connect Transit is vital to connecting 2.2 million riders to places of work, education, and to visit local businesses and community services. Our 2015 rider survey indicated that over 50% of Connect Transit’s riders are on their way to work or school. A transfer center will help improve and facilitate these critical connections for the community.
When interacting with the community, and specifically transit riders, Connect Transit regularly hears a desire for more services and better infrastructure. Residents in the city’s core express a desire for multi-modal transportation options including walking, biking, and transit. At the same time, community members who reside outside of the Downtown area frequently communicate the need for additional, appealing options to bring them in to the area. A revitalized transfer location within the Bloomington Downtown would provide a new appeal and a new way for residents across the community to access all Downtown has to offer: government, retail, restaurants, entertainment, residential and commercial spaces, and high-quality events. The increased transportation choices provided by a transfer center will encourage more of Connect’s current riders to choose Downtown Bloomington as their destination and will act as a driver for new, choice riders to view public transportation as an option.
Connect Transit is currently undertaking a site needs analysis with a feasibility study conducted for the location of a new Downtown Transfer Center completed in May 2018. Connect Transit ridership has increased 11.7% year-to-date as our national peer and regional peer agencies have seen a five to seven percent decrease. A new Downtown transfer center is vital as our ridership continues to increase and we further improve the connectivity of our bus system.