MAX Revising Three Fixed Bus Routes in August | News
Ridership on the Macatawa Area Express (MAX) is up so sharply that the Holland area transit system will be modifying three of its eight fixed routes in late summer to keep buses running on time.
On August 20, MAX will revise Routes 1, 2 and 4 in Holland Charter Township, which serve Holland's north side. Heavier boardings and delays on these routes during peak times are causing the buses to arrive late at the Padnos Transfer Center. To keep these buses on schedule, the routes will be shortened for time.
"The 28 percent jump in fixed route ridership in 2011 has created some growing pains," admitted Sherri Cadeaux, MAX marketing and customer service manager. "All the routes need to arrive and depart the Padnos Transfer Center on time to allow passengers to transfer and to maintain a synchronized 50-minute schedule. If one or two buses are consistently arriving late, it creates scheduling problems."
Routes 1, 2 and 4 are being modified so that buses will travel along main thoroughfares instead of going down secondary roads and entering complexes. Low-use bus stops also will be closed and others moved to nearby locations that allow easier egress for the bus. "The revisions are necessary for us to continue to operate efficiently and offer reliable service as our ridership grows," Cadeaux said, adding that MAX is doing its best to minimize the inconvenience to passengers.
Factors that affect a bus route's on-time performance include the number of boarding passengers at stops, traffic conditions and accidents, trains, road closures or detours, and weather.
One important addition to Route 1 is that a bus stop will be added on the south side of the road in front of the newly opened Spectrum Health complex at 588 E. Lakewood Blvd.
Fixed route ridership on the MAX has increased steadily since 2008 when the system was expanded, but spiked last year with a 28 percent increase. In the past two years, MAX has seen a 42 percent increase in ridership and expects that trend to continue with continued high gas prices. About 75 percent of the 420,000 rides given annually by MAX are on its fixed routes.
Passengers can review the route revisions on MAX's website at www.catchamax.org, at the Padnos Center MAX Office at Lincoln Ave. and Eighth St., or on any MAX fixed route bus. Comments on the route changes may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.