There might soon be a public transit option for Knox County residents who live outside of Galesburg.
Galesburg Public Works Director Wayne Carl said the city currently operates a fixed route system; buses drive four specific routes within the city for pick-up or drop-off. Custom rides are also available for qualifying individuals with special needs.
Carl said preliminary discussions are underway about expanding the service into other incorporated cities and rural Knox County. He said people have been asking for the service for some time.
“They want to be able to come in for doctor’s appointments or shopping or go to work,” said Carl. “They are currently unable to get affordable transportation into town.”
Carl said the solution could be to simply extend routes into communities such as Knoxville, Abingdon, or Wataga. He said another option could be to create a local Mass Transit District.
“A Mass Transit District would be a separate entity not related to the city of Galesburg,” said Carl. “If a mass transit district is formed, it would have its own board and it would be its own entity.”
Carl said the formation of such a district would likely require an agreement between Galesburg, Knox County, and the surrounding incorporated communities. The Knox County Board and the Galesburg City Council are expected to discuss the transit expansion in the coming weeks.
Carl said beyond those discussions, Galesburg also plans to examine its own existing routes to see if there are any gaps in service. He said more employees are wanting to use the transit services to get to work.
“We plan to do some route studies to determine if we need to expand our routes within the city to reach employers who are not being served or to reach areas that are not covered by the current routes,” said Carl, adding the studies would be conducted by the Illinois Department of Transportation.