VALPARAISO | The city has begun pouring foundations for V-Line bus shelters on Calumet Avenue and a Sunday route has been added, but ridership for September was down about 1,000 from a year ago.
"I think the number last month was a little disappointing," V-Line General Manager Ryan Landers said. "I'm sure with it being the first month of the new route and with the Popcorn Festival taking up a weekend, it probably put a damper on things. The Valparaiso University students are just getting back to school, and they are not used to having only one bus."
Ridership on the Brown Route serving the VU students was down about 1,300 from a year ago to just 1,421, while the Yellow and Green Routes showed an increase to 1,850 and 1,985 respectively. The Orange Route shuttle to the South Shore's Dune Park commuter rail station also was down from a year ago to 261.
The Red Route -- running every other hour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- had 53 riders in September after having only eight for the first weekend in August. The bus used for the Orange Route alternates doing the South Shore shuttle run and the Red Route each hour beginning Friday afternoon and running from 7:45 a.m. to its last run at 9:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
"People really wanted the Sunday route, and they are not taking advantage of it," Landers said.
The Yellow and Green Route ridership also showed a slight drop from the August numbers of 1,919 and 2,119 respectively. Landers said ridership seems to be picking up again during the first week of October with about 1,500 total riders for the first week.
The first shelter pad was poured last week in front of the Spring Valley Homeless Shelter as part of work being done on Calumet between Wall Street and Glendale Boulevard. Assistant City Planner Tyler Kent, who also is the city's transit director, said another is planned in front of the Valparaiso Care and Rehabilitation Center on Wall, and the city accepted an easement to put one in front of Town & Country.
The V-Line is beginning its third year of operation.