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Express bus service between CR & Iowa City getting closer

The 380 Express bus service between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids will use newer deluxe motor coaches.  One such motor coach, in the background, was just delivered on Monday.
The 380 Express bus service between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids will use newer deluxe motor coaches. One such motor coach, in the background, was just delivered on Monday.(KCRG)
Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 4:13 PM CDT
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An upcoming interchange project at I-380 and I-80 could disrupt trips between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids for years. And a joint plan by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) to help commuters hits the highway in just two weeks.

A new bus service called 380 Express will go from downtown Cedar Rapids to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with other stops along the way. And the final push to recruit riders before the services launches on October 1st is now underway.

During the final two weeks, organizers will begin distributing brochures listing routes and times at various locations. A website with similar information should be available within days as will monthly and 10-day passes sold through a smartphone app.

Brock Grenis, an ECICOG transit administrator, says he thinks interest is building.

“Not unlike a lot of transit services, people are excited for it. They think it’ll work well. We’ve had a lot of feedback. So far people are anticipating to ride it regularly,” Grenis said.

Charter bus company Windstar will operate the service using new deluxe motor coaches. Three of the four buses set to run the express route on a regular basis are in Des Moines to get logos applied.

Pat Greteman, a vice president with Windstar, says riders should appreciate the difference between the new express motor coaches and typical transit buses.

“I think people will react better to a brand new coach. There will be Wi-Fi, reclining seats, restrooms, wheelchair lifts. One bus is so new it even has the new car smell,” he said.

Those backing the service are hoping for at least 500 riders a day. That number would mean fares could cover about 30 percent of the cost of the service. That’s a fairly typical percentage for a transit service.

The 380 Express service begins October 1st with trips every 30 minutes during the morning commute hours and again at night for the evening commute.

Daily trips are $3.50 each way. Monthly passes are $125.00 for the general public and $62.50 for seniors or disabled. Monthly passes must be purchased through the Token Transit app on smartphones.

The Iowa DOT is providing funding assistance for five years to help ease traffic congestion during the expected five year construction project at the I-380 and I-80 interchange.

A new bus service called 380 Express will go from downtown Cedar Rapids to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with other stops along the way. And the final push to recruit riders before the services launches on October 1st is now underway.

During the final two weeks, organizers will begin distributing brochures listing routes and times at various locations. A website with similar information should be available within days as will monthly and 10-day passes sold through a smartphone app.

Brock Grenis, an ECICOG transit administrator, says he thinks interest is building.

“Not unlike a lot of transit services, people are excited for it. They think it’ll work well. We’ve had a lot of feedback. So far people are anticipating to ride it regularly,” Grenis said.

Charter bus company Windstar will operate the service using new deluxe motor coaches. Three of the four buses set to run the express route on a regular basis are in Des Moines to get logos applied.

Pat Greteman, a vice president with Windstar, says riders should appreciate the difference between the new express motor coaches and typical transit buses.

“I think people will react better to a brand new coach. There will be Wi-Fi, reclining seats, restrooms, wheelchair lifts. One bus is so new it even has the new car smell,” he said.

Those backing the service are hoping for at least 500 riders a day. That number would mean fares could cover about 30 percent of the cost of the service. That’s a fairly typical percentage for a transit service.

The 380 Express service begins October 1st with trips every 30 minutes during the morning commute hours and again at night for the evening commute.

Daily trips are $3.50 each way. Monthly passes are $125.00 for the general public and $62.50 for seniors or disabled. Monthly passes must be purchased through the Token Transit app on smartphones.

The Iowa DOT is providing funding assistance for five years to help ease traffic congestion during the expected five year construction project at the I-380 and I-80 interchange.

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