Dubuque's revamped bus system to cut some transit times in half - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's revamped bus system to cut some transit times in half

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Public transit riders in Dubuque are going to be very pleasantly surprised on Monday.

One of the biggest gripes among public transportation riders almost anywhere seems to be that it takes too long to get from point A to point B, but an overhaul of Dubuque's bus route system will go into effect next week.

Dubuque resident Loretta Donahue said she rides Dubuque's public transit system, the Jule, every day she can.

"All the time! I mean, I have no car. I'm too old to drive," 83-year-old O'Donahue said. "I can't afford a car, so it's very nice to have the bus."

Bus driver Steve Jochum said he sees lots of commuters during the week, many of whom spend a long time on the bus.

"I started driving the bus six years ago, and you'd be taking people to work in the morning and the same people back in the afternoon, and you know they're spending three hours on the bus, just to get to and from work," Jochum said while driving his route Friday afternoon.

It's that long commute time that helped prompt Jule officials to completely revamp the transit system's routes, effective Monday. The Jule's director of transit operations Candace Eudaley said she's excited to see the positive change take place.

"A lot of our routes had wound through the city and didn't really give you a direct route to where you were going, and they were hard to understand," Eudaley said of the old system. "The names didn't necessarily match where they were actually going."

Under the new system, Eudaley said, every route's time will shorten -- some by half or more.

"This is going to be a huge life change for people who are transit-dependent," Eudaley said. "I'm really hoping we see a lot more people give it a try because it will be so much faster."

Jule employees are spreading the word by putting pamphlets about the new routes on buses or even hopping on buses themselves to chat with riders.

"Well, if you have any questions, you know to call the office, right?" one Jule official asked the riders on Jochum's bus late Friday afternoon.

"There's a lot of people we drop off here that work out here," Jochum said at the Kennedy Circle transit station on the west end of Dubuque. "They're going to get from downtown to out here in 15 minutes, compared to an hour the old way."

As the saying goes, change is good.

The Jule is holding a number of public meetings to help introduce people to the new transit system and which routes to take. Eudaley said organizations can even call the Jule to schedule an on-site "Jule 101" session for their staff or clients.

The meetings are:

Carnegie Stout Public Library, 1st Floor Program Room

4:30 p.m. January 14, 2014

3:30 p.m. January 30, 2014

4:30 p.m. February 11, 2014

4:30 p.m. March 11, 2014

4:30 p.m. April 15, 2014

4:30 p.m. May 13, 2014

Multicultural Family Center

5:30 p.m. January 23, 2014

Loras College, Alumni Campus Center, Mary Alexis Room

5:30 p.m. February 4, 2014

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