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Cedar Rapids bus system changes draw mixed reviews

Route 4 signs along 42nd Street NE are covered in these yellow slips of paper (Photo courtesy of Jason Meyer).

With north of 4,000 riders daily, the Cedar Rapids bus system certainly has the demand to justify the supply.

Now, the city is making sweeping changes to its public transportation in an attempt to improve efficiency.

The changes, which include reducing the number of transfers and dropping bus interval times on the busiest routes, are drawing ire from some riders.

Randall Muravez just moved into his home on 42nd Street on August 1, one day after the changes were implemented.

He found out from his teenage child, who informed him the stops on 42nd Street for Route 4, which travels east, have been closed.

Yellow pieces of paper with the words "Bus Stop Closed" are duct taped over the bus stop signage.

Prior to the reduction, there were roughly 1,100 bus stops throughout the city.

City Transit Manager Brad DeBrower estimates between "75 and 100" bus stops were closed.

Muravez described the discovery as "like a vein [being] ripped out."

He said his year-long lease has lost value in the form of convenience, as he and his kids, who intended to use Route 4 to get to work, will now have to cross the street and take Route 6 in the opposite direction, adding an additional 15 minutes of travel time.

"For my kids, it's a huge inconvenience because time is everything, and they don't like going in the opposite direction of where they're supposed to be going," said Muravez. "It doesn't make sense to them."

The decision certainly has drawbacks, and Transit Manager DeBrower is the first to acknowledge them.

"There's always gonna be some trade-offs," said DeBrower. "There's always gonna be some folks that are gonna be impacted negatively."

However, the system was implemented after an in-depth study by the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization determined public transportation could be streamlined.

DeBrower said the changes address various complaints riders have regarding overcrowding and inefficiency.

"That's really what our focus was -- more efficient service on our higher ridership routes and adding more transfer locations for passengers," said DeBrower.

The city managed to keep the project cost-neutral, so riders won't incur additional fare costs.

DeBrower considers this move the first step of a potential series.

"We think that this positioned the city well to hopefully expand service in the future," said DeBrower. "One of the things that we really wanted to go ahead and try to do is expand a little bit later into the evening hours. Our last buses leave here at 6:15 at night. We'd like to go ahead and over the next few years put a plan into place that hopefully we can go ahead and see that expanded out to 8, 9, 10 o'clock at night."


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