"The Current", operated by Connecticut River Transit, lets passengers on at its stop on Flat Street. (Reformer file photo)
"The Current", operated by Connecticut River Transit, lets passengers on at its stop on Flat Street. (Reformer file photo)
Saturday November 3, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Connecticut River Transit officials are continuing to make changes to the company's bus schedule after weeks of criticism and frustration followed initial changes that were put into place last month.

CRT completely changed its route through Brattleboro on Oct. 1, changing over from its previous plan of running three separate lines to using the Brattleboro Transportation Center as a hub and asking riders to change buses.

But while the change was made to allow riders to make easy connections, some complained about long waits, and some of the connections did not allow riders to get to, or home from, work during the busy commuting periods.

On Oct. 29 the company recently extended its red line to help people get into West Brattleboro after 5:30 p.m.

Riders were complaining that the previous schedule left them stranded at the transit center.

The company has also been making changes to the bus that goes to World Learning after receiving complaints that the changes were not meeting the needs and schedules of administrators and students at the college.

"It is our job to make life easy for people. That is what we do," said CRT Executive Director Mary Habig. "We are still tweaking the schedule and if it is not working we want to hear it."

The route changes that CRT started in October reflected months of work.

A consultant was hired to look at the schedule and the routs and public meetings were held this summer, though Habig admits they were sparsely attended.

And she points out that even though the new schedule was started in October, the company realized that it was for a trial period and they expected to hear from riders who were having trouble adjusting to the change.

Habig asked riders to continue providing input about the changes.

She said that while it might be impossible to meet everybody's needs the company was listening to all complaints and would try to continue making changes to accommodate as many requests as possible.

"We are open to suggestions and we have been making changes based on what we have heard already," Habig said. "We made out the schedule and it looked good on paper, but you never how it will work until you try it out. We are adding as much service as we can with the money we have."

And she said the new route to Hinsdale, which also started in October, has been popular and successful. CRT officials hope to meet soon with the drivers to find out what they have been hearing and the company will soon print out the new schedule.

Still, from the start Habig has pointed out that financial help has been level funded over the past year and it is making it hard to improve on the service.

Input on the changes can be made by calling 802-460-7433, or by sending an email to admin@crtransit.org.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311 ext. 279.