Oswego might put brakes on Park-n-Ride service
By Jenette Sturges email@example.com September 5, 2012 1:34PM
A sign for the 907 Pace bus hangs at the Oswego park and ride stop at Mill and Orchard roads. | FILE PHOTO
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:14AM
OSWEGO — The village might be gaining one new public transportation option, while losing another.
The Village Board is considering ending its contract with PACE, which operates six bus trips each day from the Oswego Park-n-Ride to the Aurora Transportation Center.
In its place, the village could adopt up to two new services from Kendall Area Transit, a Park-n-Ride shuttle to replace the Pace service, and a Dial-A-Ride curb-to-curb on-demand van service.
Under Kendall Area Transit, the shuttle bus service from the Park-n-Ride to the Aurora Metra commuter station would offer 10 trips daily — five in the morning and five in the evening — instead of Pace’s three morning and three evening trips.
The Pace contract would cost about $95,000 next year, while the new KAT Park-n-Ride service would be $80,000 to $88,000 a year, according to village staff estimates.
But Trustee Terry Michels said the low ridership on the current shuttle buses did not justify the cost of continuing any commuter shuttle service.
“Does anybody think that 17 riders a day is a strong number?” Michels said this week. “If we tripled it and said 90 riders a day, is that a strong number? It isn’t for me. This is a market niche to the Aurora train station and back.”
Park-n-Ride bus ridership peaked in February 2009, with 149 one-way rides daily, but plummeted in 2010 when Pace cut the service from 12 trips to six each day.
In May 2012, the shuttle averaged 49 daily one-way rides.
While the Park-n-Ride Shuttle is being debated, the village is seeking a commuter rail station, which would be located at the Park-n-Ride site at Mill Street and Orchard Road.
“People are still moving to Oswego and people still need to get to the city,” said Trustee Scott Volpe. “But I’m still on the fence if I want to continue the experiment for two-and-a-half years to see where ridership goes.”
The other service Kendall Area Transit could provide to Oswego is its Dial-A-Ride program, which offers door-to-door transportation.
The service is largely designed for seniors and the disabled, but can be used by any resident of Kendall County who registers. One-way rides anywhere in the county cost $3 curb-to-curb, or $5 door-to-door.
Oswego residents are currently only allowed to use the service for medical trips. Should the village agree to a $45,000 contract with KAT for the Dial-A-Ride service, Oswego residents could use the service for rides anywhere in the county.
KAT provided about 15,000 Dial-A-Ride trips in Kendall County last year, and has roughly 1,000 registered riders across the county, according to program Director Paul LaLonde.
The board is expected to vote on the PACE contract at its Sept. 18 meeting.