Fayette County

Lextran board reaches decisions on service reductions; postpones Masterson Station route changes

Construction was underway at the new Lextran headquarters under construction on Louden Avenue in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 21, 2015.
Construction was underway at the new Lextran headquarters under construction on Louden Avenue in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 21, 2015. Lexington Herald-Leader

Lextran's board of directors on Wednesday agreed to add some Sunday service, suspend the downtown trolley system and postpone revisions to several bus routes, including those in Masterson Station.

The decisions were made during a board meeting held as a final opportunity for residents to voice concerns about proposed changes and hear an overview of recommendations from Lextran staff members.

Proposed changes to some routes and trolley service downtown caused concern among people who feared their only transportation to and from work and school would be removed.

Jeff Fugate, chairman of the Lextran board and president of the Downtown Development Authority, said the board wanted to make the best decision possible in an effort to help as many customers as possible.

"Our staff has been working overtime on trying to provide a set of proposals that will provide the best service to the greatest numbers of riders," he said. "We have a limited number of resources, so you've got to figure how to best spend those resources."

The board decisions Wednesday included adding Sunday bidirectional services to routes 1 through 13, which would more closely match the routing offered on Saturdays. Service on route 15, which serves the Red Mile area, would be extended until 10 p.m.; the route now stops running at 6:30 p.m. Also, route 16, which serves Southland/Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and route 31, which serves Alexandria, will be consolidated and revised. Route 21, which serves Keeneland and Blue Grass Airport, would be modified to provide service when most employees are going to and from work, rather than on a regular fixed schedule.

In addition to the changes, the board decided to suspend the downtown trolley service until more efficient routes can be developed.

Lextran postponed indefinitely changes to route 17, which serves as the Northside Connector, and route 20, which serves Masterson Station. No changes will be made immediately to route 23, which serves Nicholasville Road, but the route will be discontinued at the end of the University of Kentucky's spring semester until Lextran and UK work to provide better transportation for students.

The changes, which will take effect January, will save Lextran more than $500,000 a year, the agency estimates.

Jill Barnett, Lextran spokeswoman and director of community affairs, said she understands the concerns residents have and will work toward the best way to serve customers. Those in Masterson Station have been the most vocal.

"It's a complicated route, because people originate from many stops, versus a few highly concentrated areas," she said. "But there's no change at this time and we will continue to examine this route in an effort to identify a way to better serve customers. Maybe it's not with the existing route 20, but we know there's a need for service. Maybe it's some other way."