Bumpy ride for Green Mountain Transit's new bus routes

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 5:42 PM EDT
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Green Mountain Transit introduced the urban NexGen Service Plan in June. They market it as easy to use, better service and on your schedule.

Now, almost two months after the changes, some riders told our Olivia Lyons they like the new bus routes, but they say they're extremely confusing and take some time to get used to.

On June 17, GMT implemented the new bus system. The new system combined old routes to make new ones.

The old routes were named based on the locations they were coming and going from. Now, they have given each route a color, like the red line or blue line-- similar to the subway systems in major cities.

Bus riders we talked to say it's confusing and they're not always sure where the bus is going.

GMT says changes going into effect on Aug. 26 will make it easier.

"We think, ultimately, it will be a more simplified service design," said Jon Moore of Green Mountain Transit. "We are making short-term changes to our public schedule format and our head signs on the front of our buses to help people understand where the buses are going and how to read the schedule."

The changes will mostly affect the Blue Line Route which travels between Essex and Shelburne. This route has seen the most complaints since changes were made.

Austin Jones rides the bus just about every day from North Street in downtown Burlington to his job on Shelburne Road. He says it's more convenient because he only has to take one bus, but there have been time issues.

"Sometimes during the week it's a hassle," he said. "I know there's not much they can do about it because of traffic and stuff, but, you know, at least find a way to let us know."

GMT says they've reworked the schedule to improve the reliability of the Blue Line Route. They also added more routes on Sunday, but many riders say it's not enough.

Jones says it's affected his job.

"There need to be more bus routes on Sunday, honestly. Because I had to talk to my manager lately and I normally would be working Sundays, but he had to take me off and he made a big hassle," Jones said.

GMT has already added buses during peak hours during the weekday that pick up and drop off more often.

The changes will begin Aug. 26-- the same day they're celebrating Passenger Appreciation Day with free local routes.