ANCHORAGE (KTUU) In Case You Missed It:
Here's our original story from April, 2017 outlining the changes the Municipality of Anchorage is making to the People Mover bus routes. The route changes take effect Monday, Oct. 23.
The Municipality of Anchorage rolled out its new bus system plan Tuesday, to take effect in October of this year. It cuts out some routes, but increases frequency on others, and includes smaller buses for what it's calling "neighborhood routes".
Director of Public Transportation, Abul Hassan, announced the changes at a press conference at the People Mover maintenance shop.
The new system adds four routes that it calls "frequent service" areas. They will have a bus arriving every 15 minutes on week days, and every 30 minutes on weekends.
Those frequent service areas are on Northern Lights, Mountain View, Debarr and in West Anchorage covering Spenard and the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Some areas cut out of the route map include the Old Seward Highway, Northern Lights Boulevard west of Minnesota Drive, which included Wisconsin Street, Fireweed Lane in Midtown and 36th Avenue West of Lake Otis.
Bus riders south of Dimond will only have service during rush hour, and it will only be one-way in and out of town depending on the direction of the rush. That commuter service will also stay in effect in the Eagle River area.
In East Anchorage, some routes along Boniface, Checkmate, Baxter, and through the Nunaka Valley neighborhood will be cut out, but other parts of the area will see new "Neighborhood Routes," which will use smaller buses.
Channel 2 News asked frequent bus riders what they thought of the pending change:
“I think that having express routes is a good idea and we don’t need to go through those neighborhoods every bus trip but I don’t think it’s necessarily, because of how spread out Anchorage is, to cut those routes out completely,” said Robyn McKerley.
Attline Goen wants to the see the city invest in more buses to include neighborhood routes. “If anything the bus services should have more buses so that the routes can be more frequented but I think that weaving into neighborhoods is extremely important, I mean we have people who are disabled a lot of people that are just reliant on that service that’s been there for so long,” Goen said.
Hassan, the public transportation director, said the new plan keeps 20-ton buses on major roads, "while transitioning services in residential neighborhoods to smaller, 22-foot vehicles." One of those smaller buses was behind him at the press conference, and is what many people would associate with an airport-type shuttle bus.
The change will also affect hours of service.
Weekday bus routes will have service from 6 a.m. to midnight, with later service to the airport until 2 a.m.
Weekend riders will be able to catch the bus from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Muni says later Sunday hours to get from work were requested by riders during their public scoping process.