Ryde bus

The Transit and Parking Commission discussed options for routes 20 and 27 since Sturtevant withdrew its financial support but didn't reach any decision.

RACINE COUNTY — The City of Racine’s Transit and Parking Commission decided Wednesday to postpone making a decision regarding the Ryde’s bus stops in Sturtevant.

Sturtevant’s Village Board decided to strip Ryde funding from its budget this year, leaving a $42,600 gap in the funding for routes 20 and 27, which currently have stops at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Renaissance Business Park and Gateway Technical College’s IMET training center in Sturtevant.

At Wednesday’s Transit and Parking Commission meeting, transit manager Michael Maierle gave a presentation on some of the options available for the two routes.

Maierle said both 20 and 27 have the lowest number of riders per mile with an average of 56 riders or 112 trips per day. That makes the cost of operation per mile much higher than the service’s other routes. The most popular destination is the DMV, followed by Goodwill Industries distribution facility.

Maierle said one option was to maintain the routes but remove all stops within Sturtevant.

That would mean that on route 20 the bus could stop on Rayne Road, a short walk to the DMV, but Goodwill, IMET and Renaissance Business Park would be inaccessible since there isn’t a good place for the bus to stop on Highway 20. Maierle also suggested the possibility of adding a stop on International Drive in Mount Pleasant where the new Goodwill distribution facility will be located.

If the commission decides to modify route 27, Maierle suggested having it continue southbound on Oakes Road to Walmart, then head eastbound on Highway 11 with a stop at Target before reaching Regency Mall.

Aside from modifying the routes, the commission could decide to keep them as they are and Racine would eat the shortfall, raise fares or cancel the two routes altogether.

Rider concerns

During the public comment segment, Theresa Peterson of Racine said more people would ride 27 if the route’s schedule coincided with shift changes at Renaissance and Industrial business parks.

“Either (employees) can go out there on the bus or back on the bus but can’t do both,” she said.

Christopher Radcliff said that he depends on those routes to go to work, especially in the winter when he can’t ride his bike. Radcliff said the alternative routes seemed reasonable and thought that adding Walmart would increase ridership.

Mount Pleasant Village Trustee Sonny Havn said that with the Foxconn campus set to be built in the area, he’d prefer if the commission could put off making a decision until it could come up with some alternatives.

Maierle also read through comments he received via email and a Journal Times editorial. Many commenters asked if Ryde could find private partners willing to sponsor the service. Maierle said he liked that idea in theory.

“In practice that’s been very difficult to do,” he said.

Racine Alderman Raymond DeHahn suggested the commission table the issue to give Maierle time to further look into the issue. The commission also asked Maierle to reach out to employers along the routes to see if they’re willing to offer support.

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Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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