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Monday, June 5, 2017

SPORTRAN EXPANSION

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Intermodal terminal to improve services

Shreveport-Bossier is anxiously awaiting the grand opening of the new SporTran Intermodal Terminal at 1237 Murphy St. in downtown Shreveport. SporTran will begin transitioning to the new facilities and routing system in late summer/early fall 2017.

A major goal of the move to the new SporTran Intermodal Terminal is to provide an alternative to automobiles and increase the use of public transportation in the Northwestern Region of Louisiana. “The new facility is touted as a new front door to Shreveport Common and downtown districts for the city of Shreveport,” said Dinero’ Washington, CEO of SporTran. “This facility will bring the SporTran and other transportation systems together at one location.”

Back in early 2000, city officials approached SporTran administration and requested it explore transitioning public transit services to an intermodal terminal concept, offering two or more modes of transportation at a central location. SporTran then applied for and received federal grant funding to construct the intermodal terminal in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Transitioning from the downtown terminal to the new intermodal terminal required SporTran to restructure its current routing system. A consultant was hired in 2014 to complete a Transit Development Plan of the service area and routing system.

SporTran’s Transit Development Plan was completed after conducting 47 stakeholder meetings, 13 public meetings, and four public surveys. A Transit Improvement Committee was formed and included stakeholders, employees and riders. Recommendations from the final document included creating shorter routes, exploring building transit hubs in service area communities, improving east/west connectivity and expanding service areas in Shreveport-Bossier City.

The public input was incorporated into the plan, and the new terminal is almost completed. “This change will create exciting benefits for our riders,” Washington said. “All SporTran routes, timetables and bus stop locations will be changed and updated.”

Increases will include:

·Increase from 36 to 38 buses during peak time service

·Increase daytime service routes from 17 to 26

·Increase nighttime service buses from 5 to 10

·Increase nighttime service routes from 5 to 14.

These improvements are planned to result in a shorter time between buses, an increase in efficiency in the corridor routes and the ability to commute to other modes of transportation.

The new intermodal terminal incorporates the latest technology to improve efficiency and result in quicker arrivals. “We will have realtime bus tracking displays at bus bays,” Washington said. “There will be live news and announcements throughout the facilities.”

Passenger fare payment smart cards, mobile ticketing, public Wi-Fi, text alerts and Google Transit will make it easier than ever for riders to schedule their routes and hop a bus. Paper schedule booklets and pocket schedule guides will also be available.

The plan also included some transit system vehicle updates. New Flyer buses and Cutaway buses were purchased in 2015 with more scheduled for delivery in early fall, and five all-electric Proterra buses are scheduled for delivery in September 2017. In all, 33 new buses have been added to the fleet.

SporTran has also partnered with other businesses to grow the terminal and better serve customers and their transportation needs. “Greyhound will lease space inside the SporTran Intermodal Terminal lobby, and four bus slips are dedicated for Greyhound outside,” Washington said. “We will also have Amtrak Thruway Service, a Bus Stop Depot C-Store, and a food truck court.”

The expansion will include a southwest transfer hub at Saint Vincent and 70th Street, also scheduled to open in early fall. “The Hub will provide shorter travel times for passengers and improve SporTran east/west connections and service,” Washington said.

There are still no plans for the use of the old terminal. For more information, updates and schedules, visit www. sportran.org.

– By Susan Reeks

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