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City council approved the expansion of Bloomington Transit



Bloomington, Indiana – At their meeting last week, Bloomington City Council overwhelmingly decided to extend Bloomington Transit services to Ellettsville and other areas of Monroe County.

In July, the Bloomington Transit Board of Directors asked the city council to take into account extending their transit service across Monroe County. The request to grow outside of the municipal limits was approved by the city council as long as it stays inside Monroe County’s borders.

In accordance with Indiana Code 36-9-4-35.1, Bloomington Transit’s Board of Directors will continue to set the pricing, routes, hours, and standards of service if Mayor Hamilton approves the expansion.

Because the Federal Transit Administration’s definition of an urbanized region was reconfirmed by the 2020 Census, Rural Transit will no longer be authorized to serve some areas of Monroe County as of January 1, 2024. As a result, since Ellettsville and Bloomington are both located in urbanized zones—the areas around cities—riders on Rural Transit will not be able to travel between them.

According to the meeting minutes, the Bloomington Transit Board of Directors determined that the expansion will provide prospects for employment and education while also benefiting those who depend on public transit.

According to meeting materials, the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation is willing to invest about $450,000 in a study to determine whether or not a high-frequency east-west line is feasible. There are many regions that were included in the study that BPTC does not now cover.

A high-quality bus-based transportation system or bus rapid transit may be suggested by the study’s researchers. According to the US Department of Transportation, the system would offer features such dedicated lanes, busways, traffic signal priority, off-board fare collecting, raised platforms, and improved stations.

Areas outside of the current service area would be served by the bus rapid transit. According to the meeting minutes, the board wants to make sure it has the legal authority to support every area covered by the study before committing cash for it.

People from outside Bloomington’s municipal bounds filed service requests at the city council meeting, according to John Connell, general manager of BPTC.

Connell noted at the meeting, “We have the operational capacity to operate and deliver service, but we do not have the legal capacity.

The Board of Directors of Bloomington Transit approved Transform BT, a strategic plan, during their meeting in January 2023 to direct decision-making over the following five to seven years. The plan’s objectives include increasing customer service, improving BPTC’s effectiveness and efficiency, and promoting regional economic growth.

The strategic plan, which was one of the conference materials, listed locations that Bloomington Public Transit cannot reach since they are outside the city’s boundaries. Ivy Tech Community College, Cook Medical, Monroe County Airport, and the south side Kroger on State Road 37 were a few of the locations.