Laura Williams used to make the half-mile walk in rain, snow or shine from the bus stop in front of Target on 173 to work at Servicom. Now, a co-worker gives her up a lift from the bus stop, but she says extending the route would be a huge help.
Presently, Rockford Mass Transit District runs two routes through Machesney Park, via North Second Street and Alpine.
A coalition formed about a year and a half ago to discuss how the mass transit system could be improved. Service to the industrial corridor along Burden Road, Boone County and Cherryvale Mall were discussed. The coalition was lobbying for a state grant to cover the estimated $670,000 price tag, but no money was allocated in the budget, so Machesney Park will cover the cost of the extension which will be about $11,000.
A trial route could be running within the next few weeks. Not only would the actual route be extended, but hours of service would be as well. Right now, the last bus out of Machesney Park leaves at 6:15 p.m. Brown says service in the village could be extended to 10:15 or 11:15 p.m. to better accommodate peoples' work schedules.
RMTD ridership is up significantly. In March, more than 126,000 people used bus service. Last March, ridership stood at nearly 114,000.