Changes to People Mover’s bus route system won’t go into effect until October, but public meetings are happening this week to get riders on board with the transit overhaul.

The system will go from having 15 routes to 13 shorter, more direct routes with buses arriving more frequently, route numbers and colors will change, and some people will have to walk further to get to a bus stop. (Click here to view the proposed routes.)

The goal is to have significantly shorter waiting periods and more bus services available during evenings and weekends.

“At least they’re trying to improve it,” said Courtney Ullom.

She and Michael Hornbuckley were waiting at the Downtown Transit Center for a bus to take them to the airport that arrived more than 15 minutes late.

“It’s kind of annoying,” she said.

Hornbuckley planned to get on a plane to his home in Montana, where he says everything’s on time.

Under the new system, a bus headed to the airport would theoretically arrive every 15 minutes. Right now, it’s scheduled to arrive every 60 minutes, a waiting period that becomes even longer if it’s not on time.

“I would rather have what they have now,” said Robert Oumauk.

Oumauk is disabled. He relies on a walker and has been riding Anchorage buses for 21 years. He says under the new system, he might have to take two or three buses to get to the store, when he usually takes one.

“There’s gonna be a lot of changes, which I know. But to some people, it might be kind of hard on them,” he said.

Focusing resources on high volume areas will mean less frequent routes available in areas like South Anchorage. Current Route 60, which runs through Old Seward once every 60 minutes, will be replaced with Route 91, a commuter route, offering pick up on smaller buses with rush hour service only.

In a press release unveiling the new plan in April, People Mover says the rearranging of resources won’t cost tax payers any extra dollars:

“People Mover’s new bus system doesn’t cost any more money to operate. It simply uses our existing resources in a more efficient manner based on the feedback we heard from you during the Anchorage Talks Transit outreach events. By eliminating duplication of services, right-sizing the fleet for neighborhood and commuter routes, and asking some riders to walk a bit further for better service, the new bus system is possible.”

Public meetings to discuss the new bus system will be held in five different locations this week:

  • 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26 at the Eagle River Library

  • 10:30 a.m. to Noon Thursday, July 27 at the Muldoon Library

  • 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 at the Mountain View Library

  • 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 28 at Sand Lake Elementary

  • 10:30 a.m. to Noon Saturday, July 29 at Spring Hill Elementary

For more information, visit the People Mover Website.