The wheels on Regional Transit Authority buses will continue to go round and round in Dubuque, Jackson and Delaware counties.
However, they won’t be making scheduled stops in Peosta anymore.
The transit service recently announced that on July 15, officials will suspend a route that has been running weekdays from Dubuque to Peosta since August.
The program initially began as a pilot program. It was extended in November due to demand from local businesses, especially in the Peosta industrial parks, as well as Northeast Iowa Community College.
Chandra Ravada, director of transportation, planning and transit services for the East Central Intergovernmental Association, which oversees the RTA, said the suspension is due to overall low ridership and the cost to maintain the service.
“What we found was that most usage is during the second shift,” he said.
He said many employees would opt to find other transportation options, such as car-pooling with co-workers, rather than taking the bus.
“Because of that, we aren’t able to sustain that cost,” he said.
RTA reports said total ridership for the pilot program was 820 passengers. About $3,000 was generated from bus pass sales.
The service operated without additional grant funding, Ravada said. The program cost a total of $78,000.
Vyron Nelson, plant manager at Berry Plastics in Peosta, said he initially had high hopes for employees utilizing the service.
“I think RTA did a good job in regards to trying, but they just didn’t get the people,” he said. “At first, we heard a lot about the transportation. And they did a good job trying to fulfill those needs, but they couldn’t get people to grasp on it.”
The bus’s pick-up and drop-off schedule also wasn’t always the most accommodating for the plant’s shifts, Nelson said.
“They could bring people out here, but once work was done, there was no way home,” he said.
Carrie Cannon, lead industrial recruiter with Express Professional Services, echoed Nelson’s positive remarks about the service, saying that a main concern for those looking for employment is transportation.
“We had four people just this morning who are working in Peosta and they didn’t have a way out there,” she said. “I’d like to see it resurface with some tweaks to it. I hope it’s not once and done. There’s definitely a need to fill there.”
RTA will continue to pick up those in need of a ride to Peosta via alternate bus routes, Ravada said. Prospective riders should call 563-588-4592 to arrange a trip.
“This route (between Dubuque and Peosta) will be taken out, but the other routes will remain the same,” he said. “We can’t run a special service as a part of doing business, but we can accommodate the other riders on the current system.”