by Dennis Dalman
There will be two meetings to explain to Sartell residents important changes proposed for Metro Bus service in the city.
Sartell City Council member Ryan Fitzthum, who is a Sartell member of the St. Cloud Metro Bus Commission, announced the proposed changes and public meetings at the last City Council meeting.
The commission is expected to approve the propose bus route changes at its next meeting. The new service, dubbed “ConneX,” would then start Jan. 2 in Sartell. The pilot program will be tried in Sartell and could be extended to other cities that are part of the St. Cloud-based Metro Bus service.
The first informational session will take place from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Sartell Community Center; the second is set for 6 p.m. at the Monday, Oct. 8, Sartell City Council meeting.
Metro Bus service started in Sartell about 15 years ago, including a fixed-route service and Dial-A-Ride. However, recently, the commission determined the fixed route (Route 32) was not very efficient because the many developments and neighborhoods in Sartell are not clearly connective and tend to be in widely separated areas.
The new service, ConneX, will be an on-demand, shared-ride system in which a bus will pick up people closer to their homes and drop them off closer to their destinations.
Another change is that Route 31 in Sartell, which currently serves Epic Center (Walmart, Sam’s Club) will be extended to connect to and from the medical campus, businesses near Connecticut Avenue as well as the nearby CentraCare Health Plaza.
Fares for ConneX will be the same as current bus service, $1.25 per trip. Dial-A-Ride customers, such as those with disabilities, might well benefit from ConneX because it will likely save them some fare costs.
All of the changes will be described in detail at the two upcoming informational meetings.