Lextran to Expand Sunday Service in 2016

Dec. 29, 2015

 Lextran riders can look forward to expanded Sunday service in 2016, at the same low fare they pay today.

Starting Jan. 3, Lextran will expand Sunday service on routes 1 through 13, increasing geographic coverage and decreasing travel times for passengers. Currently, Lextran provides limited Sunday service, which does not serve as many areas and can create lengthy commutes – a complaint Lextran has heard often. The January 2016 change will separate Sunday “combo routes” and replace them with bidirectional service.

Two of Lextran’s highest volume routes – route 5 Nicholasville Road and route 8 Versailles Road – will see enhanced service through revisions to other routes. A revised “route 16,” known as Southland Drive, will begin service Monday January 4th creating additional service to downtown from portions of Nicholasville Road while also serving the new Health First location and UK Healthcare at Turfland Mall. The revisions to route 16 consolidate the existing Southland/BCTC (16) and Alexandria Crosstown (31) routes.

“The new route 16 provides greater connectivity and service levels for passengers traveling to UK Healthcare facilities on Harrodsburg Road, the new Health First location and Kentucky Clinic,” said Lextran General Manager Carrie Butler. “We also anticipate the revised route 16 will alleviate some crowding issues on the most heavily traveled corridor in Lexington.”  

The Emerson Center on Garden Springs Drive behind Turfland Mall will serve as a transfer point between route 8 Versailles Road and route 16 Southland Drive. This creates a cross-town transfer point for passengers originating in the Cardinal Valley area, eliminating the need for a downtown transfer at the Transit Center.

For passengers traveling along Versailles Road, revisions to the existing Airport/Keeneland route (21) will create open-door service and greater flexibility for reaching destinations on both ends of the route. The existing Airport/Keeneland bus operates express-style with one stop along Versailles Road between downtown and Keeneland.

“For someone living along Versailles Road who works at the airport or Keeneland, this proposed revision reduces travel time and eliminates the need for a transfer downtown,” Butler said. “If they were traveling towards downtown anyway, this reduces the wait time between buses during peak service hours.”

Portions of the current Airport/Keeneland route between Bluegrass Airport and Beaumont Center will be served by revisions to route 13 South Broadway. According to Butler, Lextran sees this adjustment as providing additional service and connectivity to destinations in Beaumont Center, including the public library.

Another expansion in service includes extended hours on the Red Mile route (15) during the academic year, an area where Lextran has seen ridership growth and increased demand in recent years. The schedule for the counter-clockwise direction of travel on route 15 will be extended to 10 p.m.

“We frequently receive requests for later service on route 15. This service expansion allows us to respond to those customers who may be on campus later in the evening,” Butler said.

The adjustments to Lextran service are the result of a year-long Comprehensive Operations Analysis conducted by Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2014. Last fall, the consulting team held public listening sessions as well as meetings with several stakeholder groups to gather feedback and craft recommendations.

Based on the consultant recommendations, Lextran originally proposed eliminating route 17 Northside Connector and route 20 Masterson Station. Lextran proposed revisions to the North Limestone (7) and Eastland (9) routes to cover some portions of route 17, and revisions to the Leestown route (12) to cover portions of Masterson Station.

The consultants also recommended elimination of route 23 Nicholasville Road Express, which provides morning and afternoon “peak” service along Nicholasville Road. In addition, the consultants recommended elimination of the downtown trolley service.

Lextran conducted a public involvement process in September and October of this year to gather feedback from the community on the proposed changes.

A public involvement report was provided to the Lextran Board of Directors at the Oct. 19 meeting. Based on public feedback, the Board opted to forgo changes to route 17 Northside Connector and route 20 Masterson Station, and delay changes on route 23 Nicholasville Road Express.

Route 17 Northside Connector will remain as-is for January, while the afternoon schedule for route 20 Masterson Station has been revised based on public feedback. The adjustment to the schedule to provide a later departure from the downtown Transit Center. The route itself for Masterson Station has not been changed.

“Lextran strives to provide the best service we can for the greatest number of passengers. We’re looking for efficiencies as well as opportunities to provide better service to our customers,” said Jeff Fugate, chairman of the Lextran Board of Directors and president of the Downtown Development Authority.