PRINCETON — Starting May 1, trips outside the Bureau and Putnam County service area will be adjusted in order to increase efficiencies in the Bureau Putnam Area Rural Transit system and improve customer service.
The service adjustment is being made on underutilized routes provided by the Gateway Services division of BPART, which provides approximately 78 percent of all public transportation in Bureau and Putnam counties. At this time there are no changes for the other service providers of BPART.
“BPART has seen significant growth in recent years. On average, BPART provides 6,400 trips per month which is an 18 percent increase over last year. The 12 BPART vehicles operated by Gateway Services travelled more than 468,000 miles in 2013. The combination of increased rides, higher than budgeted gas prices and greater than anticipated vehicle repairs, has led to a significant budget deficit,” said Jeff Dean, president and CEO of Gateway Services, Inc.
“In addition, a number of new vehicles that were expected in December have not arrived. The deficit has made us re-evaluate our current services,” said Dean. "BPART has a fixed budget. There are only a certain amount of dollars that we are able to spend.”
A single bus will go to Peoria on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and it will arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at 2 p.m. Once a bus is full, BPART will be unable to schedule any more riders to Peoria on that day.
Buses will also travel to Ottawa on Mondays and Fridays. There will be a single trip to Ottawa that will arrive at 9 a.m. and leave at 2 p.m. Once the bus is full, BPART will be unable to schedule any additional riders to Ottawa on that day.
Due to limited demand, trips to Sterling-Rock Falls and Dixon will no longer be provided.
“BPART is a very valuable service, and we need to take these steps to continue to provide the greatest amount of service to the public,” said Dean.
BPART is a partnership with Gateway Services in Princeton, St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley, the Bureau County Senior Citizen’s Association in Princeton and the Putnam County Achievement Services in Standard. To schedule a ride, a live dispatcher can be reached from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-874-8813.
BPART is a demand-response, curb-to-curb public transportation service. Unlike a route service, a rider calls the main dispatch, and a BPART driver will pick up a rider at their residence, take them to their destination, and take them back home, as long as the trip begins or ends in Bureau and Putnam counties.
Passengers may contact BPART to schedule a ride at least 24 hours in advance, and by noon the business day before a trip. BPART operates from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and limited service on Saturday.