Smaller transit buses likely will be coming to some Lawrence streets, along with several other changes to the public transportation system.
City commissioners said they liked a series of proposals to merge and rearrange public transit routes beginning Aug. 1. The changes will be up for final approval at the April 13 meeting.
Among the changes are:
• Route 3 between downtown, Lawrence Memorial Hospital and the Santa Fe Industrial Area in North Lawrence will begin using smaller, van-like buses during the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The new buses will be used to staff a demand-response service that will require users to call ahead to use the bus, unless they are going to LMH.
During the special hours, the bus will run a reduced route from downtown to LMH each hour, but people who want to go elsewhere on that route will need to call the public transit office to schedule a ride. From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the route will operate with larger buses and with a schedule much like it does today.
Transit leaders said the change was necessary because ridership on Route 3 was averaging less than eight riders per hour.
• Routes 1 and 2 will be combined in an effort to boost ridership numbers. The combination will mean service to the Prairie Park area will be dropped.