The Whatcom Transportation Authority, is now looking for input on the proposed plan for new service after creating new ways people could give their opinion, such as surveys and presentations to community groups.
WTA proposed a plan recently to implement a new bus service for March of 2017.
The proposed bus service changes will increase the number of routes, adding more evening trips and changing some of the routes around Western, said Becky Kelly, a WTA service planner.
Most of the changes that will be implemented are aimed at allowing Western students to be able to have greater access to more places like Fred Meyers and apartments on Lincoln Street, making the routes around campus easier to understand.
The proposed plan includes earlier Saturday service on most of the routes, a later evening service and simplifying the number of routes going to Western.
Maureen McCarthy, a WTA spokesperson, said the Sunday bus service is pretty big for Whatcom County.
“County wide, I can say one of the biggest changes is that we will be having service on Sundays outside of Bellingham for the first time in our history,” McCarthy said “That is pretty important to the communities in Bellingham.”
The WTA hopes to have the plan approved by September so they can move forward by March 2017, Kelly said.
The WTA likes to do a strategic plan which includes a service change every six years or so, but it has been 10 years since they did the last change due to the financial straits when tax revenues were plunging four years ago, McCarthy said.
The rest of the changes are minor, but they are trying to bring back the Plum Line on Lakeway that would leave every 15 minutes during the week, Kelly said.
“So far, because we’re mostly expanding service, we received a lot of positive comments,” Kelly said.
Since Transportation Benefit District formed in 2010, funding has been distributed between three projects on the Six-Year TIP, according to the city’s documents.
The three projects include the Arterial Resurfacing, Non-motorized Projects and Enhanced Transit project.
The contract with the WTA is expiring at the end of 2016, but the City Council and the WTA are not looking to extend the contract.
As a result, they came up with a recommendation to distribute the benefit fund between the Non-motorized Project and the Arterial Resurfacing project, which the WTA says will also improve transit.
The Non-motorized project expands infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists and the Arterial Resurfacing project maintains existing through roads and bike lanes.
The WTA is hosting four drop-in community meetings for public input as well as surveys, which the time for the community meeting can be found online and the surveys as well.
WTA drop-in community meetings can be found on their website.