MAX Transit proposes fewer routes, but shorter waits for buses

In response to feedback from the public, Macatawa Area Express (MAX) recently unveiled a plan to improve rider experience through new routes and service changes.

“We heard from the community the key need to improve frequency,” Elisa Hoekwater, executive director for MAX, says. “It is our goal to increase overall efficiency and ridership, starting with our existing resources. We are excited to have a feasible plan we can implement in the next five years.” 

The MAX Transit Authority and its consultants from Transpo Group held a public open house and focus group sessions at the GRCC Lakeshore Campus on Jan. 25, asking local leaders for feedback on the proposed service changes. 

The new plan proposes:
  • Going from eight to six fixed-route services. Four of those services will be at 30-minute intervals instead of the current 60-minute intervals.
  • Three new microtransit zones to connect to employment areas and fill in gaps from reduced fixed-route services.
  • Going from a single transfer point on the hour at the depot to multiple connection points across the community.
  • More direct routes for shorter trip times.
  • Revisions to the existing demand-response service rules for non-ADA passengers to reduce the point-to-point “taxi-like” service and encourage use of new fixed-route services.
  • A new mobile app to improve trip planning, booking, and fare payments.
Hoekwater says she looks forward to further engagement after the final recommendations are reviewed and adopted by the MAX Transportation Authority Board in May 2024.

“We have heard about additional needs and opportunities, and what we are proposing in the short-term is just a start,” Hoekwater says. “We believe in making continual improvements for the community and will continue exploring potential collaborations with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.”

Through Feb. 9, community members can go online to:
  • Vote on which four of the proposed routes they would like to see run at more frequent, 30-minute intervals.
  • Suggest potential bus stops and areas where other improvements (for example, sidewalks or safer crossings) will be needed.
  • Provide additional feedback on the proposal.
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.