Need to know: cyride changes


Iowa State Daily

CyRide is campus’ most popular form of transportation. It accommodated 6,619,182 passengers and covered 1,234,773 revenue miles in fiscal year 2014.

Rae Hattan

If you rode CyRide during the spring semester, you might remember the multitudes of flyers lining the handrails and littering the seats.

Since May, CyRide has implemented major route changes to East Ames, policy changes and a bus-fare reduction. These modifications come as a result of a year-long study conducted to find more efficient ways to provide service to riders. Sheri Kyras, Director of Transit, said the changes are already going well.

“The East Ames Service Extension (EASE) route, over the services that were there last summer which would have been the Pink and the Gray routes in East Ames, is 9 percent higher [in ridership] for the first three weeks of the service,” Kyras said. “And from week one to week three, it’s up 25%. So people are catching on and using the service, which is really positive.” 

The Yellow route, which has been shortened but provides more frequent weekday service, has also increased ridership in East Ames.

“It’s up 9 or 10 percent from last summer’s service and about 24% from week one to week three – a good start to the CyRide 2.0 changes. 

However, starting this fall semester, CyRide 2.0 will be in full effect. Before you hop on your route to class, check out the service changes beginning in August and the new policies affecting the way you ride.

Two new routes will be added, Cherry and Lilac, to West Ames, along with more frequent service. EASE will continue to operate to and from East Ames, and there will be fewer routes along Osborn Drive.

“We had about a thousand bus trips a day under the previous system that operated on Osborn, which made it very busy in that area with all the other traffic – pedestrian, car, skateboard, bike,” Kyras said. “One of the goals of the study was to reduce the congestion in that area, and the way we did that was having the routes from out West stop at student services.”

The extra buses that were not on NEXT BUS, CyRide’s bus prediction service, will now be there. The Orange route will be replaced by the new Peach route in a small bus to the Veterinary Medicine College, and the Blue route will be extended to stop in front of Target and operate around the corner on Fifth Street to Wal-Mart.

“It will be much more convenient for students to use the Wal-Mart and Target area. You won’t have to cross busy South Duff in order to use the bus to get to those two locations,” Kyras said.

The new Gold circulator, which is a bus that connects campus housing to the campus area, will connect Schilletter Village to campus to the Towers.

To adjust to the new policy on bus stop arrival, Kyras emphasized that students should plan their trips ahead of time. There will be many more buses in service and less of the extra ones.

“So it’s going to look more frequent, but that means we don’t have the capacity just before and after classes to be able to provide, in some cases, up to eight buses,” Kyras said. “They need to adjust their travel patterns and come to campus a little early, maybe grab a cup of coffee, visit with friends, finish up homework, or whatever that might be. Just don’t make it the last trip starting this fall.”

And the CyRide flyers that featured the motto “If you’re late, we won’t wait!” should be taken seriously.

“As we’re developing the service, one of the things that makes us less efficient is waiting for students that aren’t at the bus stop but come running for it,” Kyras said. “If that happens on one trip two or three times, the reliability of the service is totally gone.”

Kyras recommended getting to the bus stop at least five minutes early to catch the bus you want.

With all of the new changes, Kyras wants to hear from you.

“We want the students and our customers to let us know what they think, positive or negative,” Kyras said.

Calling, emailing, or making comments on CyRide’s website will help them help riders. A summary of those concerns and comments will be discussed at a board meeting in October for updates in the fall of 2019.

“It would be great if we could get it absolutely perfect the first time,” Kyras said. “But to do service changes of this magnitude, there’s going to be probably a couple of iterations in order to get it to be the best that it can be for the community.”