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Plan to ease OmniRide commuter bus overcrowding proposed

A solution to partially relieve chronic overcrowding on OmniRide commuter buses starting in late July will be unveiled July 7.
PRTC staff will present a plan to the Board of Commissioners to gradually add eight new morning trips and three new afternoon trips.  If approved, the move is expected to alleviate some but not all overcrowding because PRTC is limited to what can be done without additional public subsidies or the acquisition of additional buses, a news release said.
Passengers have been urging PRTC to supplement OmniRide service for many months because of chronic overcrowding
Despite the apparent need for more service, PRTC has been unable to provide it because all available buses were already in use during the afternoon rush hours and budgeted funding was in short supply.  However, those obstacles have eased, the release said.
Last month, PRTC got four new federally funded commuter buses to replace retirement-age buses.  Staff will recommend that three of the four buses be retained in the active fleet to permit supplemental service in the afternoons. 
The second obstacle - funding - has been eased due to scheduling efficiencies, higher than budgeted fare revenues and redeployment of unused contingency hours.
If the PRTC Board of Commissioners approves the staff recommendation, new trips will be added gradually.  Because the plan will ease some, but not all, of the overcrowding, service will be supplemented where the most severe overcrowding occurs, the news release said. Customers will be advised of additional trips in several ways. The new trips will be incorporated into PRTC’s printed schedules in the fall.

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