Bellevue weighs Metro Transit service changes
By John McCracken
BELLEVUE – Village officials have questions regarding changes set to take place in August to routes and schedules proposed by Green Bay Metro Transit.
As Bellevue heads into budgeting for 2022, the village was asked to maintain the status quo of $147,661 for Green Bay Metro service, while routes may decrease in the near future.
Former Village Administrator Diane Wessel said she understands a lot of residents don’t use the service, but the village pays to have it available, and the change in service should reflect a change in funding.
“Bellevue has no qualms with the change in the service delivery,” Wessel said. “It’s our position still that it is a different level of service, and we expect that the cost to Bellevue will decrease, too, because we feel that the service for Bellevue residents has decreased.”
Green Bay Metro’s proposed changes would eliminate all fixed routes which operate in the village, except ones that service Walmart and Parkview Properties.
As a part of Green Bay Metro’s proposed changes, the introduction of microtransit services could be permanent in Bellevue, after it started there as a pilot program.
Microtransit is an on-demand transportation service where riders use an app or call to request a pickup.
The app can be downloaded at greenbaywi.gov/GBM-On-Demand, or residents without smartphone access can call 920-448-3185 to set up an account.
Bellevue residents would be able to access microtransit services at one of six stops in the village:
• Target/Pick N’ Save (2050 Lime Kiln Road).
• Costco (2355 Landmark Blvd.).
• Landmark Drive and Costco Way.
• Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists (2223 Lime Kiln Road).
• Bellevue Senior Living (1660 Hoffman Road).
• Emerald Park Villas (1360 Villa Park Circle).
Residents are able to request on-demand microtransit services if they live within a quarter-mile of the six service stops.
Wessel said the benefit of microtransit skews toward those who are coming into the village to shop and not necessarily village residents.
“People using that system are not going to be coming from Bellevue,” she said.
Metro Transit Director Patty Kiewiz said she agrees Metro Transit likely transports more people into Bellevue than out of the village, but without data on the new pilot program, Metro can’t provide proper funding estimations for the upcoming year.
“We’ve been piloting (microtransit) in Bellevue since last August and across our entire system for the last couple of hours at night,” Kiewiz said. “The service has gone very well, which is why we’re looking at expanding it in other areas.”
Bellevue also uses paratransit, a program for riders unable to access fixed routes due to disabilities outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Paratransit routes operate within .75 miles of a fixed route.
Though Green Bay Metro could eliminate a fixed route in Bellevue, Kiewiz said any individuals currently approved for the paratransit program will be grandfathered in and will not be affected by potential changes.
Residents with questions on paratransit eligibility can call 920-448-3185 for more information.
Kiewiz said Metro Transit’s new service changes aim to replace fixed route bus operations in areas where passenger boardings are low.
According to the Green Bay Metro Commission’s annual service review, in 2020, roughly 527,000 passengers were transported for a rate of nine passengers per hour, with pre-COVID-19 fixed-route levels hovering around 15 passengers per hour.
“Whether it is a fixed route or microtransit, there is no loss in service to our entire system on any of the areas we were servicing pre-COVID,” Kiewiz said.
Public hearings and comments regarding Green Bay Metro’s changes closed June 15.
The Green Bay Metro Transit Commission will meet at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 30, at 901 University Ave, to take action on the proposed changes.