Summit Loop Suspended 1/19/15

During Ohio University’s weather-related campus closure tomorrow, Thursday February 19, the Summit campus bus loop will not be running. Service will resume when campus reopens Friday. All other APT routes are currently set to run on their normal schedules.

A Valentine’s Day Market Saturday

Love is in the air this weekend, and so are free bus rides! This month’s Market Saturday happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, February 14. Go anywhere on APT free of charge between 8:30am and 5:30pm.

APT steps up enforcement of reduced-fare ID rules

To more fully comply with Ohio regulations requiring transit systems to verify the elderly or disability status of patrons requesting a reduced fare rate, Athens Public Transit is revisiting its certification process. We remind all of our riders requesting a 1/2-price E&D fare for age or disability to first get a certification ID card (Blue ID).

The certification form is available here, from drivers, from our service garage on 397 West State Street, and by mail. Complete the form and return it along with a photo to the 1st floor Mayor’s Office at the Athens City Building on 8 East Washington Street. Unless you are applying on the basis of temporary disability, you should go through the certification process only once: patrons who have already been certified for an unlimited-ride picture pass need not reapply for a Blue ID, and a Blue ID is valid for punchcard ticket or picture pass creation.

As of February 1, drivers are routinely checking Blue ID cards. From March 1 on, patrons paying with cash fare or buying punchcards must ride at the standard fare rate unless a Blue ID has been presented.

For more information, please consult our Fare Discount Eligibility page or our system policy manual.

IMPORTANT: this procedure deals with fare discounts. It shall not deprive you of your right to ride public transit!

New Route 5-6 Schedules and Maps Available

With the launch of the expanded Route 5 and new Route 6 just around the corner, we thought it was high time we posted some maps and schedules for our customers. You can view the new information under the Schedules menu using the “Routes 5 & 6″ page: http://www.athenstransit.org/routes-5-6/. The new schedules will be live in DoubleMap Monday; updates to the Google Transit trip planner will trail by a couple of weeks as the new GTFS feed processes.

The essentials to remember: weekdays Route 5 runs 7:20-7:30, Route 6 runs 6:53-7:00; both loops go to The Plains, Route 6 goes to Chauncey and the County Home; the loops run opposite directions so you can go out and back on Union or Columbus Road now. Happy riding, and don’t hesitate to call 740-592-2727 if you have questions!

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Westside/Plains/Chauncey Expansion to launch on February 2nd

Like Bill Murray in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, some Athens bus riders are about to spend a lot more time in loops! Fortunately for us, this development represents an improvement rather than the time trap that Murray’s character Phil found himself in.

Starting February 2nd, 2015, APT will expand the hours on its Route 5 loop from the current hourly trips 9:30am-5:30pm to 7:30am-7:30pm. At the same time, a brand new loop will be opening – Route 6. The 6 will run hourly 7:00am-7:00pm.

The two loops complement each other: The 5 visits Columbus Road, The Plains, Union Street, O’Bleness Hospital and the West Side neighborhood before returning uptown, while the 6 will run a similar path in the opposite direction, beginning with the West Side neighborhood and leaving town on West Union, returning on Columbus Road.

In town, the two loops will combine to provide what is essentially back-and-forth service in the Union Street and Columbus Road business corridors. “6 to go, 5 to return” is the phrase to remember for W Union Street destinations; “5 to go, 6 to return” works for Columbus Road.

There is one major difference between the two loops: Route 6 follows a straighter path through The Plains and has time to visit the Village of Chauncey as a result! The bus route also stops at the County Home on Rt. 13. The expansion is funded through a federal Job Access Reverse Commute grant, and the Department of Job and Family Services has been an important local matching partner. There are now thousands of job locations that will be transit accessible to new groups of rural residents.

Keep an eye out for temporary bus stop signs dotted along the path of the new 6 – besides numerous locations in West Athens, there will be signs at The Plains library and at the Chauncey post office and elementary school building. And remember: anywhere outside the Athens City limits is a hail zone – you can hail the bus (wave it down) and it will stop to let you board at the nearest safe location!

Spread the word and check back often. APT staff will be updating this site and other information sources with new maps, timetables, and other information. Call 740-592-272 or email info@athenstransit.org with questions about the new service.

Effective Monday: Stops Move at Mulberry, Stimson

On Monday, January 12th, the following service changes will go into effect:

  • APT’s main connecting stop is returning to West Mulberry Street next to Baker University Center, away from its temporary home on President Street.

  • The Route 4 stops at Campbell and Morris are being moved one block over to Stimson and Grant. Landmarks near the new stop locations include Miller Monuments, Jackie O’s Tap Room, Sonic Drive-In, KFC, and Mill Street Village Apartments.

  • These service changes can be viewed on a map here.

DoubleMap is Live!

Just in time for that January cold, Athens Public Transit’s DoubleMap bus tracker is live, with a bus tracking website, downloadable iOS and Android apps, and real-time arrival predictions. Don’t stand outside longer than you have to! Let your phone or computer help you keep up with where your bus is from indoors.

To get started with DoubleMap, click the links in the sidebar under “Track Your Bus”, or click here for more information.

Get the App – Bus Tracking Enhancements to Offer Local Transit Riders New Convenience

Starting this winter, Athens Public Transit will offer real-time bus tracking services to riders through DoubleMap Incorporated (www.doublemap.com). Using GPS location information, the service shows buses moving along their routes on an online map, and provides dynamic predictions of the next bus arrival time at each stop. Transit users can view the information in a web browser or on their phones or tablets – both iOS and Android apps are available as free downloads.

“There is some real anxiety that comes with waiting at a bus stop, because you’re never convinced that your bus is going to show up until the moment you see it” said APT’s Michael Lachman. “Tracking services like DoubleMap’s take that uncertainty out of the equation – a rider can even wait indoors, following their bus on the app.”

The service will offer benefits to operations as well, according to APT general manager Mary Dailey: “GPS location will give our dispatchers a more accurate on-time status of routes and buses to share with customers”. APT is the second local bus system to sign an agreement with DoubleMap after Ohio University CATS launched tracking in August, and the two systems have discussed the possibility of offering coordinated real-time displays at the Mulberry@Baker connecting stop sometime in the future.

Bus tracking is currently being tested and will be fully live at the start of Ohio University’s Spring Semester, January 12th 2015. In the meantime, a static map is viewable at athens.doublemap.com.

Read more about how to use DoubleMap’s service with this download.

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Athens Public Transit to Add Service to Chauncey, Expanded Hours

Athens Public Transit is thrilled to announce a new expansion of service! Beginning sometime in the first quarter of 2015, our current Route 5 loop will be replaced by a syncronized pair of loops operating in opposite directions. One loop will keep Route 5’s path – out Columbus Road, through The Plains, and back to uptown Athens via Union Street, O’Bleness Hospital and the West Side neighborhoods. The other will reverse this routing and travel beyond the Plains to Chauncey, returning to Athens via S.R. 13, The JFS County Home, and Columbus Road.

In addition to the increase in bus frequency the new arrangement represents, weekday hours on both loops are being expanded to the system-wide standard 7am-7pm; up to now Route 5 has operated 9:30am-5:30pm, and prior to 2013, 10am-4pm. The new hours will not only balance the system’s network of routes, it will offer many workers in Athens and beyond the ability to commute to work on the bus in a way that they couldn’t previously.

The expansion is made possible by a federal Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) grant, with generous matching contributions from Athens County Department of Job and Family Services and The City of Athens. A full joint press release with more details is available here. APT is grateful to our funding partners for being willing to back this project; more updates will be forthcoming as the new service rolls out.

ALERT: Halloween Saturday Detours

On Saturday, October 25, much of Uptown Athens will be closed for the 40th annual Halloween block party. The following outbound/northbound Athens Public Transit stops will be unavailable all day and evening for all City and Summit routes:

  • Richland & W Green Drive at Grover Center northbound (City and Summit)
  • President St Lindley/Bentley Main stop (City and Summit) – City routes use temp stop at College St.
  • Class Gateway (Summit)
  • Court & Washington (City and Summit) – use temp stop at College St.
  • Casa Nueva (Summit)
  • Court & W State (City) – use temp stop at College St.
  • Carpenter & Grosvenor outbound (City) – use stops at Family Dollar or E State & Morris

Our temporary main connecting stop during these closures will be on College St at Washington, by the 1st United Methodist Church and across from the City Parking Garage. A map of all added service and road/stop closures is available. For travel information call 740-592-2727.

As posted previously, our expanded evening service stopping at fairgrounds parking will be running continuously both Friday and Saturday. Click here for complete weekend travel details, including trip planning from hotels. Dress warmly, be safe, look out for your friends and have a great weekend!