Federal grant will help Valparaiso assess its bus service
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent April 11, 2013 10:16PM
Updated: May 13, 2013 6:55AM
VALPARAISO — The city’s V-Line local bus service will get a review of its effectiveness this year, one partially funded by a Federal Transit Authority grant.
The Board of Works on Thursday approved requesting proposals from outside consultants to consider such things as bus size, the number of routes, the layout of routes and the number of stops.
The services review will also tell what the city is doing right for the V-Line, which began in October 2007.
City Planner Tyler Kent said he expects changes but couldn’t predict what kind.
“I’m keeping an open mind at this point. We’re continuing to see our ridership increase, and buses are at capacity,” Kent said.
The number of riders for January was 9,251, for February 9,679 and for March 9,105.
Although he didn’t have last year’s number available, he said there is an increase or steady use for the bus service because people are getting comfortable with it, and it’s reliable and has quality.
Kent expects to hire the consultants in the next 30 to 60 days, after the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission reviews the city’s request for proposals and sends it out.
NIRPC is handling the federal grant, which will pay up to $100,000 for the study.
The city will have to match it at a 20 percent rate, a maximum of $20,000.
Kent said he didn’t know how much the study could run.
The city will have a public meeting to get input from residents and riders about the service.
The study won’t include the Chicago Dash, which has seen ridership of 4,084 for January, 3,932 for February and 4,050 for March.
“The V-Line is a more complicated service,” Kent said.
The Dash has limited stops.
The city hasn’t decided yet whether it will change bus service over the summer when Valparaiso University has fewer students.
The city has consolidated bus lines in past summers due to decreased student use.