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Riders excited for SunTran bus upgrades

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Public transportation may have gotten just a little easier for Ocala residents.

City Transit Manager, Steven Neal said they’ve been working to improve the SunTran bus line for the past two years.

They launched the Route Redesign Study to assess ridership needs.

“We started having meeting after meeting. Any meeting that you could possibly have, we where there asking our customers and consumers what would they like,” Neal said.

The study showed the biggest complaint from riders was how long it took to get to their final destination.

So they added 138 additional stops, a new GPS tracker, and changed the old ‘spokes’ system, which was a 50 minute ride from beginning to the end.

“The best part about the ‘Figure 8′ system, it travels through the most populate areas of the City of Ocala and if you are going in one direction, you stand on one side of the street but if you want to say like go out to the mall, you’ll be on the opposite side,” Neal added.

So we hopped aboard to see these changes in motion.

Residents seem to be liking it so far.

“It’s taken me a little while to get to know the new route but you know change is good and I’m actually liking it,” Lawrence Fields, who have been riding SunTran for more than five years, said.

But without the drivers none of this would be possible.

“I’d just like to say thanks to my drivers who worked through some hard times, especially with the COVID. We had one driver who lost several family members within a short period of time, but that driver still continued to come and to drive. They definitely are the true heroes in all of this,” SunTran Operations Manager, Edward Dickens said.

Heroes that help us get where we need to go.

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