At the Casper city council meeting on Tuesday, Liz Becher, Community Development Director, talked to the council about new bus stop signs the Casper Area Transit Link and Assist plans to introduce.

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The new signs will go on the red, yellow, and purple routes while signs for the blue, orange, and green routes won't be updated until the second phase next year, with the new signs costing around $75 each, which was paid for with a federal grant.

Becher said they will get the signs installed in the next couple of weeks and, after a recommendation from councilmember Amber Pollock, they also sought input from the Casper's Council of People with Disabilities, who approved of the new signs.

Casper Transit also made some changes to their stops, including adding the state office building to the red route and changing the stop on the yellow route at the west-side Walmart from being near the propane tanks to an area nearby.

On the purple route, they added stops at a Dollar General and at the new residential development called Cornerstone and removed the stop at the Department of Corrections because of the addition on the red route.

The update is part of the five-year strategic development plan that transit adopted in May 2021 for the 125 across the county.

Councilmember Lisa Engebretsen asked why there isn't a route that goes up to the event center, and Becher said in response that there isn't a consistent demand for it.

"When we did the strategic transit development plan, there were surveys done and the consultants rode the buses, talked to the passengers, and there was not a demand for people wanting to get to the event center except if there are concerts and that sort need," Becher said. "But on a regular stop being right there at Central Wyoming Counseling Center and the loop along Wilkins Circle was enough. There was not demand to get over."

Vice Mayor Bruce Knell asked if it's possible to run the bus at specific times for shows at the events center, and Becher said they have budgeted for that.

"We did put money into the budget for that," Becher said. "In the past, we've worked with the disability council to see if they would like to have attendance and we've utilized our assist bus for that, which is more the door-to-door service for that usage. We could run the green route later if there was demand for that."

Becher said that due to the mask requirement they saw a decreased use of the bus service, but since dropping that requirement, they've seen an increase in ridership.

Knell said after Engebretsen mentioned complaints they've gotten about the number of assist buses, that the assist buses are for public use and aren't a private service.

"I think it's fair to say also that we're not a private transportation service. There are plenty of opportunities and plenty of scheduled stops for people to catch our bus," Knell said. "If they have to go 20 minutes early and wait a bit for their appointment or whatever, but the availability is there to take care of everyone. So one of the things I'm starting to pick up on is this isn't a private transportation system for the average person to call up and say 'I need to you pick me up and have me here at this time.' We have a good system going and people just need to be better schedulers and utilize what they have available for them, in my opinion."

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