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On the move ... and growing

BPART’s new office increases visibility, business

Published: Monday, March 17, 2014 3:30 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 17, 2014 3:55 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — Business is better than ever since the Bureau Putnam Area Rural Transit (BPART) relocated its main dispatch center and administrative office to the Amtrak Depot Station in Princeton.

BPART moved its main dispatch center and administrative office in January from its previous location at the Gateway Services building on West Peru Street in Princeton.

BPART operations manager Mick Johnson said BPART operates out of the former Amtrak depot ticket office and former fudge shop. The move to the Amtrak depot has brought increased visibility and has increased business a lot, he said.

As reported in its 2013 annual report, BPART provided more than 65,000 one-way passenger trips and traveled more than 559,661 miles during 2013. That number of passenger trips is projected to increase to 75,000 by the end of the current fiscal year, Johnson said, adding the move has been beneficial for BPART and for the community as well.

The dispatch office is staffed from 6 a.m. to 5:30-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, depending upon the traffic, Johnson said. Staff members help with the loading and reloading of Amtrak train passengers and are also there to assist with other transportation needs for the train passengers.

With BPART located at the Amtrak train depot, the station has become multi-modal for people, providing more than one form of transportation out of a single location, he said.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, BPART’s occupancy of the depot is a partnership between the city of Princeton and Gateway Services Inc., which acts as an administrative agent for BPART.

Comprising BPART are Gateway Services, the Bureau County Senior Center, both in Princeton, St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley and the Putnam County Achievement Service.

Gateway Services has 13 vehicles for the BPART services; the Bureau County Senior Center has three vehicles; Putnam County has one vehicle; and St. Margaret’s Hospital has about five vehicles with its own dispatch center.

The need is out there for the public transportation services provided by BPART, Johnson said. In fact, the need is outgrowing its capabilities right now, he added.

BPART is funded through the Downstate Operations Assistance program, state and federal grants, county matches and donations.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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