Riverside Transit Agency has created new bus stops like this one near Third and Market streets in downtown Riverside as part of changes to bus service that begin in January 2017.
ALICIA ROBINSON, STAFF PHOTO
Inland transit riders who are used to changing buses at the downtown Riverside terminal should get ready to change their routine.
The Riverside Transit Agency will stop using the downtown station at Fairmount Boulevard and University Avenue on Jan. 7 and shift to offering transfers at bus stops the next day.
To change from having a downtown hub to using what transit officials call a grid system, the agency built 18 new bus stops and improved 16 existing stops. The new system will affect 20 routes.
Transit officials decided to revamp service in Riverside because the downtown terminal was more than 30 years old and had “really exceeded its useful life when you consider our future growth,” agency spokesman Brad Weaver said.
The new stops have shaded black bus shelters with schedule information and solar-powered lighting. Some stops are big enough for two buses to pull in at once, so riders can get off one bus and immediately transfer to another. Officials expect the changes to make transfers easier and to reduce the time some spend waiting for buses.
When they’re in between routes, buses will park next to the downtown Metrolink station, and people will be able to board there as well.
Weaver said the agency has let customers know what’s coming by positioning “ambassadors” at the downtown terminal to answer questions and offering brochures with details on all buses.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, 18, of Riverside, was waiting for a bus at the downtown station Thursday. She said no one has talked about the route changes, but she did get the brochure and it was easy to understand.
The college student said she doesn’t like seeing the terminal close because “I just got comfortable being here.”
Riverside resident Mark Luethold, 33, agreed that the change might seem inconvenient for some because they’re used to the current setup. But he’s seen drug use around the terminal, he said, and he hopes closing it may help put an end to that.
Luethold takes the bus daily to get to work. He’s not concerned about the change because, “All I have to do is just walk like another block” to his new stop, he said.
The Greyhound station, which uses the bus terminal and has a ticket office and waiting room there, also will be leaving but it’s unknown when, said Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents downtown. This spring the city moved to evict Greyhound over a lease dispute and the issue is pending in court.
Gardner said he’s heard some complaints about parking spaces lost to make room for new bus stops, but people seem to like the new bus shelters.