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Board accepts transit redesign plan 

For almost two years, the regional transit agency has been going through a process, dubbed Reimagine RTS, to redesign its public transit system. But the process has now become a plan, which was approved Thursday afternoon by the RGRTA board.

Now it’ll be up to agency officials and staff to put the plan into place. RGRTA spokesperson Tom Brede says the redesigned public transit and paratransit systems — the latter provides transportation for people who are unable to use RTS buses because of a disability — laid out in the plan should go into effect on June 29, 2020. The document is available at reimagine.myrts.com.

The different aspects of the plan have been publicly released and discussed, and RTS has held public hearings on them. The plan focuses on improving the frequency and reliability of buses in its core service areas, mainly the City of Rochester and inner-ring suburbs. It lays out 10 frequent-service routes — including two cross-town routes — and 20 local-service routes, all designed to be more direct than existing ones. It pares back on routes that run deep into the suburbs, which have lacked the ridership needed to sustain them, officials have said.

The frequent-service lines would run no more than 15 minutes apart from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and no more than 30 minutes apart from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays. On weekends, they'd run 30 minutes apart from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and an hour apart for all other hours of service.

Buses on the local-service routes would run 30 minutes apart from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and hourly from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on weekdays. They'd run hourly from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

The approved Reimagine RTS plan document includes redesigned route maps, as well as a one-page rundown of each route; details about new “community mobility zones,” areas that will be served by several different forms of transit, from smaller buses to van sharing services, and which will take the place of direct bus service in some communities and neighborhoods; fare structures, including new discounts for veterans, seniors, and disabled people; and a federally required paratransit service plan.

The plan will also include details about how frequently buses will arrive at and depart from the various stops, and plans for new connection hubs, where community mobility zones tie in to the fixed bus routes.

RTS officials and staff still have to finalize the schedules for the new routes and put up new signs; that work will happen in the leadup to the 2020 launch of the redesign. During that time, they also plan to run an aggressive outreach and education campaign, to ensure that as few people are caught off guard as possible.

“We’re going to have a lot to do,” Brede says. “We’ll definitely get it done.”

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