The Gary Public Transportation Corp. is adding bus stops at a health clinic and food bank to help residents get through the "transportation barrier" keeping them from visiting those facilities.
Effective Monday, June 18, riders on the Broadway Metro Express line can request stops at 49th Avenue in the University Park neighborhood, where Oak Street Health recently opened, at at 64th Avenue in Merrillville, near the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
The food bank had approached GPTC about a stop there, and is making a financial contribution for signage. The food bank's executive director said the stop is critical in assisting families without reliable transportation.
"Having the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana accessible via the Broadway Metro Express eliminates transportation as a barrier for many of the people we serve," Stephen Beekman said, "including our own staff and volunteers who rely on public transportation to reach our facility."
GPTC will institute several other changes on Monday:
• Broadway Metro Express service to Methodist Hospital Southlake will be every 40 minutes, rather than every 20, to help the service stay on time in light of the added stops.
• The Merrillville shuttle schedule will reduce stops in order to make the commute to Northwind Crossings business park quicker.
• The U.S. 30 and Ivy Tech shuttles will be "interlined" — meaning one bus will serve both routes, eliminating the need for a transfer. Trips to lower-ridership locations will be reduced to accommodate the change. Service frequencies will range from 40 minutes to one hour 15 minutes.
• Lakeshore South service will return to full-day service, as a result of financial support from Hammond and Lake County. Hourly service frequency will be offered between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the route, which serves portions of Hammond, Highland and Munster, with stops at Purdue Northwest, downtown Hammond and Walmart, among others.
• The Oak and County Line routes will include Gary's Marquette Park beach Friday afternoons and all day Saturday from June 22 through Labor Day.
• The first Broadway Metro Market will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22 at 35th and Broadway. Fresh produce will be for sale, and cooking lessons will be offered.
• GPTC, East Chicago Transit and North Township Dial-a-Ride will offer service to the Lake County Fair on Aug. 9.
More information is available at www.GaryTransit.com.