New bus route will take riders from downtown Ann Arbor to Amtrak station

By thauckthauck (1228733779|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Ann Arbor's public transportation system finally links to the Amtrak station that lies just north of the City's downtown district. According to this article, it looks as though this new bus route might also be being added in anticipation of a commuter rail link between Ann Arbor and her northern suburbs. The original can be found here.

New bus route will take riders from downtown Ann Arbor to Amtrak station
by John Mulcahy | The Ann Arbor News

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority will launch a new bus route between the Blake Transit Center on Fourth Avenue and the Amtrak station on Depot Street beginning Monday.

The new, No. 17 bus will operate every half hour for most of the day on weekdays and every hour on weekends, and also will serve bus stops on Division Street and Fifth Avenue.

Besides serving people taking Amtrak trains to Chicago, Detroit and points in between, the new route will help AATA gain experience for serving anticipated commuters routes between Ann Arbor and Detroit and between Ann Arbor and Howell, said Dawn Gabay, interim director of AATA.

Among other things, AATA will be looking for the best way to safely accommodate people carrying bags, Gabay said.

"Obviously, if we are going to service the Amtrak station, we're going to have to allow people to get on with baggage," she said.

Options include having people keep their bags between seats and out of the isle, or putting them at some designated area on the bus, she said.

All of AATA's buses are low-floor, making it easier for people to carry bags onto the bus, she said.

The buses will not be timed to meet specific trains, but the frequency of the bus should make it practical for people to take the bus to the train station without having to wait unreasonably long for their train, Gabay said.

A route that stopped at the train station several years ago did not attract many riders, but AATA officials think things are different now, Gabay said.

"The environment has changed, the economic situation has changed," she said.

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