VALPARAISO | Ridership on the two main V-Line routes remains steady, but the city is considering some changes to the third line that serves Valparaiso University.
Ryan Landers, V-Line general manager, said the Yellow and Green routes carried 1,924 and 1,925 passengers respectively in May. The Brown Route serving VU had only 910 riders after shutting down May 12 when classes ended for the summer. The Orange Route weekend shuttle to the South Shore's Dune Park station had 205 riders for a total May ridership of 4,964.
"We are getting a lot more uses of the monthly passes," Landers said.
The passes are available to nonstudent riders and were used more than 1,000 times in May, he said. While the Yellow and Green routes have reached a plateau of about 2,000 riders a month and have a lot of people who are regular riders, Landers said VU students could see some changes in the Brown Route, which has been the most heavily used, when they return in September.
"We're trying to work out what to do for the Brown Route," Landers said. "We will go down to one bus, instead of two, but we will run it every 30 minutes instead of every 40 minutes."
It will alternate between two different routes. Although the specifics of the routes are still being worked out, Landers said one might go to the Wal-Mart and Target areas while the other would go to the downtown and then to the Ivy Tech/Porter's Vale shopping center area.
Longer hours of operation also are being discussed with the city.
"A lot of people really want that," Landers said. "Of all the suggestions coming in, that's one of the top things they would like. It's just a matter of whether the city can fit it into the grant funding it is getting. It's a rarity to have an hour without anyone riding the buses, but a lot of people don't know about it.
"I still think a lot of people associate the V-Line with the buses for Porter County Community Services and Opportunity Enterprises. If people have questions, they can call us or they can get the schedule online and just walk out to the bus stop. The way gas prices are going again, it's definitely worth it. The more people we have riding, the more opportunities we can have, like later hours and running the buses more often.
"Right now we are fine, but we need a little more capacity to convince the city we need the additional service," Landers added.