Connect Berrien: Berrien County Transit Integration Plan
Berrien County has four existing transit providers (Berrien Bus, TCATA, Niles Dial-A-Ride and Buchanan Dial-A-Ride) with a combined annual operating budget of over $4.3 million; nevertheless, the ability of the public to utilize these systems to move between and among these providers is virtually non-existent. A study Moving Forward: A Plan for Public Transit in Berrien County was completed in 2014 which showed how integration could occur, and the communities operating the four transit providers are now asking for details about the anticipated levels of service that would be possible after integration.
A Transit Integration Plan will create a service plan for the County which would increase the integration of existing services, with a potential reduction in the number of individual transit providers. The service plan will allocate existing resources as well as those that could feasibly be added, in order to better meet the transportation needs of residents and businesses in Berrien County. The study team, led by national transit firm Nelson\Nygaard Consulting, will provide detailed recommendations for operations, maintenance, facilities, funding, administration and governance.
A robust public and stakeholder participation process will inform the Transit Integration Plan. This will include interviews, workshops, public meetings, a project website with online feedback tools, social media, person-to-person interactions at various sites within the County, and other outreach as appropriate. This feedback will be combined with market analysis and evaluation of existing transit services, in order to recommend alternatives to meet the transportation needs. These alternatives will then be vetted with the public and stakeholders before the final recommendations are issued.
Future implementation of the recommended service plan will create a transit system in Berrien County which is easier to understand and use, and which better meets the needs of the County. A more seamless experience for planning trips, paying fares, and traveling from place to place will be the biggest benefit. The increased coordination will reduce costs, attract ridership, and be more effective for both users and transit agencies.
Until late 2017/early 2018