New Rochester Transit Services Start Sunday | Community

RPT completes its five-year development plan by improving existing routes and adding new ones.

ROCHESTER, Minnesota — Starting Sunday, Rochester Public Transit is implementing widespread changes to improve its bus services and routes to wrap up its five-year transit development plan.

Existing routes will become more efficient and new routes are added.

Rochester Transit Communications Coordinator Nick Lemmer said throughout the pandemic there has been a greater need for bus service.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in ridership since the start of the pandemic. Of course, our ridership really dropped in those early days. But since then, we’ve seen a slow and steady increase in transit ridership. So it’s really not just replacing the service we had before the pandemic, but positioning ourselves for the future,” Lemmer said.

The changes will increase travel by nearly 10% per year on new routes and areas and provide service to more than 2,000 additional people in Rochester.

Journey times for existing routes and added routes will be adjusted to improve speed and RPT will add more frequent services to areas that need them.

“These changes were planned for a long time, but as you can imagine, the pandemic has kind of delayed a lot of these types of expansions that we had planned. But these transit development plans are helping us identify areas of Rochester which are newer neighborhoods and may not have seen service in the past. But now we are expanding service to meet the needs of neighbors here,” Lemmer said.

The new service was supposed to take place on the first of this month, but Lemmer regrets that it was pushed back a few weeks to ensure all drivers were trained and comfortable with the new routes.

Masks are mandatory on all public transport to protect drivers and passengers.

To find a map and schedule for all service changes, click here.

Melvin Z. Madore