PEORIA — Picking up and dropping off bus passengers only at designated bus stops has been CityLink's policy for years. Beginning Sunday, it will officially become its practice.
"For the safety of our riders, our drivers and the other motorists on the streets, it is time for us to really enforce the policy that we have had for some time now," CityLink public relations director Emily Watson said Wednesday.
Starting Feb. 3, CityLink buses will pick up and drop off passengers only at signed bus stop locations and designated CityLink benches and shelters in Peoria, Peoria Heights and West Peoria. By policy, drivers will no longer stop to pick up passengers in between designated bus stops, nor will they stop the bus in between bus stops to let passengers off.
According to CityLink, "Bus operators will no longer stop at every corner, or anywhere that a passenger flags them down. This will reduce the number of times that the buses have to merge with traffic while leaving a bus stop and allow more time for passengers to get on and off the bus. The operators will also have more time to make sure that passengers are safely clear of the bus before pulling away from the curb."
For weeks, drivers have been preparing passengers about the upcoming enforcement of the standing policy, Watson said.
"It will be a challenge for some of our operators who get to know regular passengers and have formed relationships with many of them," Watson said. "But the benefits to the entire bus system in safety and efficiency will be better for the riders and for the whole community."
With bus stops spaced about 1,320 feet apart — typically no more than two city blocks — the benefits of a safer, more efficient system should outweigh any perceived inconveniences or hardships the change creates, Watson said.
Implementation of the signed stop system is planned for later for the routes located in East Peoria and Pekin and the commuter route between Peoria and Pekin.
CityLink Customer Service has a full list of the bus stops affected by this change and can be reached at 676-4040 during business hours. A list of bus stops for these routes is also available at www.ridecitylink.org/schedules-routes. The list is subject to change as routes and stops are continuously monitored and adjusted to improve bus service and accommodate road construction projects.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @scotthilyard.