Bus routes change

Cities Area Transit changes routes to comply with traffic patterns.

In an effort to improve service to UND students and the Greater Grand Forks community, Cities Area Transit has been adjusting its bus routes.

The most recent change was switching routes five and seven on Nov. 12. Transportation Superintendent Dale Bergman said the city transportation system is trying to do what it can with the funding it has.

“We do a transportation development plan every five years to review the public input to find out what we can do,” Bergman said. “We have to look at our budget, which is being cut. We, at that point, need to know what we are doing and know we are doing it correctly.”

Further changes could be made to meet the needs of the new Student apartment complexes on south 42nd Street.  As of now, the bus routes do not serve this area.

Mobility Manager Ali Rood, said changes are likely to be on going. Rood noticed that more people ride the buses on weekdays and is planning changes according to that.

“One of our considerations was reducing services on Saturday,” she said. “For the most part, people like the hours of service and would like more. Taking away services in order to provide service somewhere else is always difficult.”

The CAT buses run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays. The 13 color-coordinated routes are subject to change based on traffic patterns.

UND students can ride the bus for free by presenting a school ID and CAT card.  CAT cards can be found in the Student Government office in the Union.  Otherwise, the adult fee for CAT busses is $1.50.

UND freshman Emily Grant said the route changes have been somewhat problematic.

“The schedule is not posted very well,” she said. “If you miss the bus you have to wait around for it. We ended up at the mall and did not know when they would pick us up.”

Grant said despite the troubles, the system is useful and safe.

“I rode the bus system in my hometown, and I was not as comfortable riding those as I am about riding these buses,” Grant said.

The updated bus schedule can be found on the Cities Area Transit website, at bus stops and on the CAT buses.

The CAT website is scheduled to be redesigned and finished in fall 2014.

Although CAT doesn’t have routes after 8 p.m. on weekends, students do have the option to use the campus shuttle service on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. for transportation to and from downtown.

Pick-up locations and times are listed online at misterbususllc.com.  Without a card it costs $5 for one ride fee or $8 for an unlimited ride pass.

In cases of bad weather, Rood said bus cancellation messages will be given in many forms.

“The higher authorities in the city make the call as far as getting plows off the street and sending people home from work,” she said. “When that decision is made we typically stay out an hour after and inform the radio stations and bus drivers of the shutdowns.”

CAT bus driver Michael Flaten said the route changes have brought positive results.

“We used to go down the university twice every half hour and now we go once every half hour,” Flaten said.  “We were duplicating UND shuttle buses. We were getting in their way, and they were getting in ours.  Hopefully now we are making it safer for the students.”

Flaten says he sees a lot of students more than once a day on the bus, and at Old Main where he works as a cook for A&W.

“I kinda tease them and ask them if they have a really nice bus driver,” he said. “They usually look at me and smile. Then I say I’m his evil twin.”

Mathew Mckay is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].