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Transit Subcommittee

The Grand Vision emphasized this region's desire to maintain and improve the existing road system, invest in better infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians, and increase public transportation services linking towns and cities in the region.

One of the keys to prosperous regional growth in the Grand Traverse region is linking existing investment areas - villages, towns, and cities - with public transportation. 

The Transit Subcommittee's purpose:

To advocate for regionally coordinated public and private transportation options including: public bus, public school bus, private taxis, limousines and buses, carpooling, ride-sharing, volunteer ride service, etc., and seamlessly integrate these modes into an overall multi-modal transportation system.

Meetings generally held the 4th Thursday of each month (unless otherwise notes). Please check the calendar to confirm meeting date/time/location.

Subcommittee Contact: James Bruckbauer
Contact James to receive transit updates, learn more about local transit initiatives, and to receive meeting info.


Upcoming Events: 

  • No events planned at this time.

Recent News:

BATA expands routes, cuts dial-a-ride

GRAND TRAVERSE CO. -- The Bay Area Transportation Authority launched it's new service model for Grand Traverse County today.

The new system offers expanded hours and more frequent stops.

With the new plan, BATA eliminated the "Dial-a-ride" runs from rural areas into Traverse City. That change eliminated 55,000 miles from it's routes annually.

Passengers who used the dial-a-ride service can now be picked up using BATA's new bus loops.

"We hope that we'll take care of our existing customer base but will also provide a lot of opportunities for other demographic profiles that really didn't find us very easy to work with," said Tom Menzel, BATA Executive Director.

For more information about the new system and where to catch a BATA bus, click here.


BATA launches Traverse City to Williamsburg route

June 20, 2012 TRAVERSE CITY - Acting on recommendations from transportation consultants Velecides Schroeder, Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) has launched a new fixed route from Traverse City to Williamsburg. Running along what is often referred to as "Resort Row," the new route makes 12 stops between Turtle Creek Casino and BATA's Hall St. Transfer Station in Traverse City's Warehouse District.

"This is a big plus for our employees," said John Miller, director of human resources for Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos. Miller worked with BATA to ensure the new route would work for the more than 1,000 employees at the resort and Turtle Creek. "Traffic is always an issue along that corridor, especially in the summer. But no matter what the season, this makes life easier for employees who may not have access to reliable transportation on a daily basis."

The route currently runs Monday through Friday departing Turtle Creek at 6 am and leaving Traverse City for the last time at 10:30 pm. Stops along the way include Traverse City State Park, Acme M-72 park and ride, Women's Health Pavillion, Bertha Vos school, and Grand Traverse Resort.

The bus also stops at Woodland Creek Furniture, near 5 Mile Rd., and owner Rob Evina said he's already seen the route generate some enthusiasm. "This route makes a lot of sense," he said. "We're glad Woodland Creek could be a part of growing public transit in the area."

BATA Executive Director Tom Menzel said the "Resort Row" route is just one of two year-round and two seasonal routes recommended in the Velecides Schroeder study approved by the BATA Board in November. "We'd like to implement all the recommendations immediately," said Menzel. "But there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and we need to take the time to do it right."

Business Development Director Carrie Thompson said while BATA is busy this summer implementing facility and technology improvements, the focus remains on providing more public transit options for area residents and visitors. "We've worked with the Cherry and Film festivals to offer free park and ride locations to help ease traffic and parking congestion downtown." Thompson said additional routes – including Interlochen to Traverse City – are slated to come on line within the next year.

For more information, call 231-941-2324.


Benzie Bus Has Record Ridership for 2011

This is only the 6th year Benzie Bus has been up and running, but with every new year they just keep getting more and more riders. Last year they took more than 70,000 people around northern Michigan.

Evelyn Hall says the bus is an easy way to travel. Another reason Benzie Bus is seeing more riders is the cost of gas. A round-trip ticket is just $6.00 to Traverse City, that won't even get you two gallons of gas.

Benzie Bus already travels to Traverse City three times a day during the week, but even more trips to the Cherry Capital are in the works.

Reporting in Benzie County, Sara Simnitch and Photojournalist, Jeremy Erickson.


BATA Board Reviews Route Recommendations

The Bay Area Transportation Authority board has asked management to develop an implementation timeline and three to five year business plan to support a final report on new route and service recommendations. The report, by Chicago-based public transit consultants Vlecides-Schroeder, was presented at the BATA board’s monthly meeting Nov. 30.

Board members enthusiastically supported the direction of the report that outlines ways to develop a fixed and zone route system that can help meet the daily transportation needs of residents in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.

“The goal is to reduce our percentage of on demand or dial-a-ride services by providing a viable alternative,” said BATA Executive Director Tom Menzel. “Empty buses traveling to pick up a person here and a person there do not constitute a sustainable public transit system,” explained Menzel, adding that the new route configurations will also free up more resources for transit of special needs populations. “The recommendations in this plan are designed to develop a reliable and convenient service.”

Recommendations in the study include:

  • Increasing efficiency of the current Traverse City Cherriot system through more direct route configurations and evenly-spaced stops
  • Adding a new Traverse City route to serve the Cass/LaFranier corridor
  • Working with Munson Medical Center and Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) to develop circulator and shuttle services
  • Reconfiguring the current “County Ride” on-demand system into zones that would feed the Village Connectors
  • Improving access to Village Connectors by increasing frequency and adding services for Interlochen and Traverse City’s so-called “Resort Row” along US-31
  • Developing “flex” routes that can accommodate seasonal demand

The report follows input from key stakeholder groups and the review of rider and population data as well as findings from several bodies of existing research.  Eighty-percent of the year-long transit service and coordination study was funded through a Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) grant. When MDOT was unable to fund its required share, BATA received special permission for community stakeholders to fund the gap.

Menzel said input from and collaboration with leading organizations in the community, including local grant-contributors Munson and NMC, have been ongoing.

It is expected that an implementation timeline will be presented at the Jan. 26 BATA Board meeting. Click here for the full report: BATA Transit Service & Coordination Study.


Bus Brochure 'Gets You Where You Want to Go

New six-county schedule blends, regionalizes routes of five bus agencies

Riding the bus in northwest Lower Michigan just got easier.

Click the image above to view the brochure!


The Michigan Land Use Institute and its transit partners have published an attractive brochure listing all bus routes connecting Traverse City with six surrounding counties. It lists exact times and locales for boarding buses serving dozens of cities and villages.

The brochure solves the problem of finding bus routes that travel across county lines.

"Our brochure makes those county lines disappear,” said James Bruckbauer, MLUI’s transportation policy specialist. “Wherever you are, it tells you how to get to where you want to go. It’s the first step seamlessly coordinating many different bus lines."

The schedule is a product of MLUI, The Grand Vision Transit Subcommittee, and the region’s five transit agencies: Kalkaska Public Transit Authority, Cadillac/Wexford Transit Authority, Benzie Bus, ACT-Antrim County Transportation, and BATA, which serves Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.

A 2009 BATA study found that the more information people have about route times and locations, they more likely they’ll ride the bus. Most people don’t know, for example, that it’s fairly easy to take the bus from Traverse City to, say, Empire Beach or other destinations—and that it’s often cheaper than taking a car.

"This regional schedule is a great example of how agencies can share information in a handy format that enables individuals to stretch their transportation options beyond one county bus system’s service areas," said Benzie Bus Director Sue Miller

The schedule moves the bus agencies closer to what Grand Vision participants said they want: more transportation options that better connect cities and villages. Better public transportation increases economic development and can improve quality of life.

Bob Sutherland, owner of Cherry Republic, which has stores in Traverse City and Glen Arbor, said the new publication would make public transit more accessible for everyone.

“As a big believer in having lots of transportation options, I find this very valuable,” Mr. Sutherland said. “Anything that makes it easier to the ride bus is good.”

To view an online version of the schedule, please visit


Expanding Transportation Choices in the Grand Traverse Region

A report from October 2009 expressing the importance of improving public transportation services between cities, townships, and villages across the Grand Traverse Region an issue that applies to cities, townships, and villages across our six-county Grand Vision region. View the document here, Expanding Transportation Choices in the Grand Traverse Region: Connecting Villages and Towns with Public Transit

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