City to expand bus servicePublished 10:47am Thursday, April 11, 2013
The fleet of buses known as AMCAT in Austin will become more prevalent on Monday.
Austin and Mower County Area Transit will add several hours to both of its routes and add weekend hours by next weekend. The change is due to a $100,000 grant, of which 85 percent will be paid by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The other 15 percent will be paid with rider fees, according to Austin City Finance Director Tom Dankert.
AMCAT’s purple route will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and the red route will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. On weekdays, the red route will remain open until 10 p.m. while the purple route remains open until 8 p.m. Those hours are extended from what has typically been 5 p.m. weekdays. View the new schedule: 2013 Amcat Schedule.
The new service will cater to late-night grocery shoppers, movie-goers, weekend commuters and more, said Kelly Joseph, transit coordinator.
“It just allows the riders a little extra time,” she said. “Say they want to go to a movie, where before they didn’t have access. If they went to an evening movie, they didn’t have a ride back.”
The bus service will continue its other routes, as well, such as dial-a-ride, Monday-Wednesday-Friday service for dialysis in Albert Lea, the rainbow route for preschoolers and the thrice-daily work route.
AMCAT, which offers rides to 60,000 to 70,000 people per year, is available to the public and serves all of Austin, Mapleview and the rural edges of city limits.