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New "K Route" selected by Transit Commission, if communities still want service

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wausau’s Transit Commission has chosen a new, preferred bus route to serve Weston, Schofield, and Rothschild if those communities decide they still want bus service.

The commission met Thursday, working with Transit Director Greg Seubert to make the route more efficient and potentially more attractive to riders.  “We had a desire to get to the Aspirus Bridge Clinic, but then the question was what do we do from there. If we served an area within the village north of the highway that had a better demographic, perhaps a neighborhood, what would that look like, and this scenario does that.”

Seubert says the big change is taking the bus away from the Ministry St. Claire’s Hospital campus. “It gets to where the new Bridge Clinic will be located, which is the Aspirus Clinic. It would also get us to the base of the footbridge, or the bicycle bridge, over the highway, so if there are folks that would have to walk over to Ministry (St. Claire’s Hospital) on that side of the highway, this would be the closest option for them.”

Director Seubert says they had very few riders going to and from the hospital on the regular buses, and he says shortening the route as proposed takes just over two miles off the trip, helping keep the bus on time. As for wheelchair and other special needs riders, Seubert says they will still be able to get to the hospital.  “We are required to provide our paratransit services to anywhere within three-quarters of a mile from a bus route, so although the bus route itself would not cross over the highway (29), that three-quarter mile limit would extend to the hospital complex and as far as Birchwood Highland.”

As of the Thursday meeting, Seubert was directed to prepare budget data for the August meeting.  “What the Transit Commission did was embrace this route concept, and directed me to build this route concept into my budget, and propose the number of trips that would get them to their current budget levels.”

Right now, the “K Route” makes seven trips per day from North Central Health Care Center south to Weston, Schofield, and Rothschild. Seubert predicts the changes may allow for eight or nine trips per day without changing the cost of operations. He is concerned about the dollars, since changes for public transit funding at the federal and state level don’t guarantee enough revenue for 2015 and some of the program levels are still undetermined.

(Listen to our interview with Greg Seubert on our website, here.)

 

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