Boise & Garden City

ValleyRide buses may soon run every 15 minutes. On one route. Will anyone ride them?

Eva Gutierrez and Joe Evett catch a bus at the Main Street Station in Downtown Boise in 2017. "I am really grateful (for the bus)," said Evett, a daily rider. While few commuters in the car-crazy Treasure Valley use ValleyRide regularly, many of its riders depend on the bus system.
Eva Gutierrez and Joe Evett catch a bus at the Main Street Station in Downtown Boise in 2017. "I am really grateful (for the bus)," said Evett, a daily rider. While few commuters in the car-crazy Treasure Valley use ValleyRide regularly, many of its riders depend on the bus system.

Bus service on the Treasure Valley's most popular route — State Street — could be a lot more frequent by the end of this year.

Valley Regional Transit, the area's public transportation authority, is considering whether to send its ValleyRide buses every 15 minutes down the No. 9 route, which follows State Street between Glenwood Street and Main Street Station, the bus system's underground hub at 8th and Main streets.

This would be the first time ValleyRide has offered 15-minute service on any route, Principal Planner Stephen Hunt said Monday. The service would be limited to peak morning and afternoon commuting times.

ValleyRide also is considering 30-minute, all-day Saturday service along State Street. The route could end up with fewer stops.

Other proposed changes include more frequent service on the Emerald Street route and more frequent and direct connections to Downtown Boise from Garden City, Harris Ranch and the Boise VA Medical Center.

ValleyRide hopes to carry out these changes without increasing its costs, Hunt said. To do so, it would combine several other routes, possibly Vista with Hyde Park, Parkcenter with Harris Ranch, and Overland with the VA Shuttle. That would free buses and drivers for the more popular routes.

Hunt said the transit agency hopes to put these changes into effect by the end of this year.

Bus ridership has declined slightly over the past two decades in the Treasure Valley, even though the local population increased. Hunt said Valley Regional Transit hopes its changes will improve service in an area where public transportation generally is considered lackluster — raising concerns about quality of life for people forced to live farther from their jobs amid rising housing costs.

The transit agency is asking for public comment on its proposed service changes. It has scheduled three open house events next week for people to learn more and comment. Here's that schedule:

Tuesday, June 19, 3 to 7 p.m., Main Street Station, 777 W. Main St., Boise.

Wednesday, June 20, 3 to 7 p.m., Main Street Station, 777 W. Main St., Boise.

Thursday, June 21, 3 to 7 p.m. Happy Day Transit Center, 5907 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell.

People who can't make it to the open houses can comment online.

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