Mayor’s transit plan cuts bus service to Chugiak
By Matt Tunseth
Chugiak-Eagle River Star
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz unveiled a new public transportation plan Tuesday that cuts bus service to Chugiak-Eagle River in favor of a rush-hour shuttle between Eagle River and the Downtown Transit Center.
The mayor introduced the new plan at a press conference with transit director Abul Hassan at the People Mover Maintenance shop in Anchorage. In a press release issued after the conference, Berkowitz said the new system was designed after 18 months of community outreach that included 25 public meetings and took into account more than 1,200 public comments.
“These changes are about moving Anchorage forward,” Berkowitz said.
The plan does away with People Mover route 102, the only dedicated bus route between Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River. Eagle River commuters will be served by 22-foot buses operating during the morning and evening rush hours.
The mayor said the new system will mean less wait time, 7-days-a-week service and more frequent buses for riders.
However, it will also mean Chugiak area residents who used to ride the People Mover into town are out of luck for the time being, as the vans are only scheduled to travel between Downtown and the Eagle River Transit Center.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Berkowitz communications director Myer Hutchinson stressed that the mayor is aware of the issue and is confident a solution can be worked out for Chugiak/Peters Creek riders before changes go into effect this fall.
“There’s time to figure something out in that area,” he said.
Hutchinson said the shuttle buses will be capable of carrying 13 passengers and up to three bicycles. With the new route schedules, he said the longest anyone will have to wait for a connecting bus from Downtown to elsewhere in the city will be 15 minutes.
For more information about the new transportation system, visit www.muni.org.