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380 Express bus service to add Saturday route between Cedar Rapids, Iowa City

The 380 Express bus is seen at a preview ride for local officials and DOT representatives at the Ground Transportation Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. The commuter route takes riders between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City with onboard amenities like free Wi-Fi and electrical charging ports. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
The 380 Express bus is seen at a preview ride for local officials and DOT representatives at the Ground Transportation Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. The commuter route takes riders between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City with onboard amenities like free Wi-Fi and electrical charging ports. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Officials say they are pleased with the nearly 2,600 rides provided last month by a new Iowa City to Cedar Rapids bus service, and plans are in place to add a Saturday route.

Dubbed 380 Express, the service — which connects transportation centers in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and includes stops at Kirkwood Community College’s main campus, Coralville’s Iowa River Landing and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics — started Oct. 1 and saw daily ridership increase steadily throughout the month.

“We are pleased with the statistics for the first month and anticipate ridership to continue to grow with more awareness of the service, winter weather approaching and future road construction projects,” Brock Grenis, transit administrator and planner with East Central Iowa Council of Governments, said in an email.

Everything you need to know about 380 Express

CEDAR RAPIDS - In less than two weeks, commuters between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City will be able to hop a bus and avoid Interstate 380 traffic.

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The Corridor Rides service, created by the East Central Iowa Council of Governments in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Transportation, provided rides to 64 passengers on the service’s first day, Oct. 1. On Oct. 31, the service saw 137 rides.

The weekly average ridership increased from about 80 people in 380 Express’ first week to 132 people in the service’s last full week.

Grenis said the service saw the highest ridership during the morning and afternoon hours, and the downtown Cedar Rapids and Kirkwood stops were the most popular. Close to 20 percent of riders were elderly or disabled, and about 70 percent of riders used the Token Transit app to purchase tickets on their phone.

“So far we’ve seen a good mix of people utilizing the service,” Grenis said.

Grenis said feedback has been positive so far and the service could see some minor tweaks in the future, based on rider feedback, but he added the service will operate as is for several months to gather more input before major changes are considered.

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Grenis did note that the service in mid-November will add a Saturday option, which will have a slightly different route, stop locations and reduced fare. He said specifics on the Saturday service still are being ironed out.

The Saturday option could help boost ridership numbers even more, he added.

“The Saturday service will be meant to serve commuters and leisure trips such as shopping and events on both ends of the corridor with stops at free park-and-ride locations. Hopefully it will be attractive for people who want to try it out and avoid driving and then possibly use the weekday service,” Grenis said.

Cathy Cutler, transportation planner with the Iowa Department of Transportation District 6 office in Cedar Rapids, said in an email the department has added two billboards along the Interstate 380 corridor to help promote the bus service, as well as Corridor Rides van and Ride-share offerings.

The service was created to help alleviate traffic during construction of the Interstate 80/I-380 interchange project, expected to be completed in 2025. The service is estimated to cost about $1.5 million annually from 2019 to 2025 and will be covered by state funds.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

 

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