Members of Hermiston’s Public Transit Advisory Committee (PTAC) knew that starting a brand new bus service would require some trial and error to develop a system that meets as many needs as possible. With almost nine months of ridership information on-hand, the PTAC recommended Monday to make several changes to the HART system which will result in additional circuits through town at a faster pace.
The new schedule, available on the city of Hermiston website, will take effect Oct. 1.
“The schedule we have been operating since January prioritized coverage of the City over speed,” said Mark Morgan, assistant city manager. “That meant that one of the loudest comments we have heard is that the HART is not very useable to make round-trips without spending considerable time on the bus.”
The new routing reduces the time it takes for the bus to complete one circuit through town by approximately 15 minutes to slightly less than an hour. The largest source of the time savings came from eliminating a lengthy segment of the route to access Riverfront Park. Morgan said utilization at Riverfront Park never materialized throughout the summer, and the PTAC deemed it to be too costly to time in the system and recommended removing it. Reducing the running time of the route means that the system can now support doing six circuits through town per day, rather than just four.
Another major change to the system is that the bus will now run in alternating directions; heading clockwise on one circuit and then counter-clockwise on the next. This change will make the system more useable, with less time spent on the bus.