Broadway Metro Express buses will roll out in ’17 - November 7, 2016
Courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana • November 7, 2016
By Andrew Steele
Gary Public Transportation bus riders will have a quicker trip along the busy Broadway corridor beginning next summer, when the transit agency begins its Broadway Metro Express service.
The GPTC board approved a plan for faster and more frequent service from Gary to Crown Point last week. The Broadway Metro Express will reduce travel time from the Adam Benjamin Metro Center in Gary to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville by 12 to 30 percent. It will reduce wait times between buses to 20 minutes, which is 10 minutes less than now.
The new service also will offer local connections from Methodist Southlake to Broadway stops at the Purdue Technology Center in Merrillville and the Veterans Administration in Crown Point, and a stop at the Lake County Government Center on Main Street in Crown Point.
The new Broadway service will make a total of 82 trips per weekday, which is 50 percent more than now.
The plan calls for improvements to bus-related infrastructure and on the bus fleet itself. Total capital costs are estimated at $9.5 million, much of it expected to be borne by the Indiana Department of Transportation for road work on Broadway.
Operating costs are estimated at $1.25 million per year. A federal grant of $3.1 million will help cover those costs in the service’s early years.
The changes will coincide with an effort to raise awareness for the service, including branding and public education efforts, new shelters, more visible crosswalks and new new bus bypass lanes at some stops.
“These important decisions are all designed to maximize the benefit of transit service and accessibility for our riders and the citizens of Gary,” GPTC General Manager Daryl Lampkins said.
A Legacy Foundation grant is helping fund original artwork for bus shelter designs. GPTC received 34 design submissions for four Gary shelters.
The Broadway bus project is part of a larger Livable Broadway plan meant to promote economic development and “livability” along Broadway from Gary through Merrillville and into Crown Point. More information is available at www.livablebroadway.com.