SunTran to adjust routes in Marion County 

A SunTran bus pulls into the bus depot at Union Station as another bus driver walks in front of it on Tuesday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]
The Ocala City Council voted unanimously to adopt planned route changes for the SunTran bus service.

Tye Chighizola, growth management director for the city of Ocala, addressed council members about the proposed changes at Tuesday’s scheduled city council meeting.

The changes will affect the blue, green, orange, and purple lines, Chighizola said during his presentation to the council.

The last changes to the bus routes took place in 2018. Those changes resulted in losing “approximately 40,000 riders,” from 2015 to 2019, according to Chighizola.

Complaints logged through customer surveys included loss of coverage in transit-dependent areas, longer walks to bus stops, as well as limited shelters and benches.

The biggest complaint about the 2018 changes was the length of trips.

“We are going towards more of a figure-8 alignment,” Chighizola said, in an effort to cut down on lengthy travel times.

According to the report filed with the city council, “The figure-8 loop routes will reduce ride time by nearly 50%, offering premier destination service and ease of service for ADA passengers by reducing the number of transfers currently required to meet their travel demands.”

The new routes will add services out to the newer facilities near I-75, including the new VA hospital in southwest Ocala.

The city of Ocala will introduce the proposed route changes to the pubic and distribute route timetables in September.

Route changes are set to take place Oct. 1.

Following the launch, the city of Ocala will monitor the system and make necessary adjustments based on performance.

For current bus routes, pick up times and stops, visit www.SUNTRAN.org

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