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STA adds two new express bus trips from Liberty Lake

Jan. 11, 2017 Updated Wed., Jan. 11, 2017 at 4:52 p.m.

College-age young people board and disembark from a bus at the Jefferson Park and Ride in downtown Spokane in this photo from January 2012. The Spokane City Council passed a measure on Thursday, March 7, 2019, that would set aside $30,000 to buy day STA bus passes for those receiving homeless assistance in the city. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
College-age young people board and disembark from a bus at the Jefferson Park and Ride in downtown Spokane in this photo from January 2012. The Spokane City Council passed a measure on Thursday, March 7, 2019, that would set aside $30,000 to buy day STA bus passes for those receiving homeless assistance in the city. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Liberty Lake’s express bus to downtown Spokane is getting two new evening trips to the STA Plaza as part of several schedule and service changes this month.

The two new inbound buses from the Liberty Lake park and ride will leave at 6:42 and 7:12 p.m.

Changes will take effect on Sunday.

Karl Otterstrom, director of planning for STA, said that one of the larger employers in Liberty Lake requested the later evening service because there are employees that have later shifts who could take advantage of the new inbound departures.

“We are trying to match our ridership and customer requests and needs,” he said.

Currently the two buses carry passengers from the Plaza to Liberty Lake, but travel empty on their return trips in a practice known as “dead heading.”

Carrying passengers increases costs only slightly, he said.

Elsewhere, heavy evening boardings on the Division No. 25 route has created a need for another inbound route from Hastings park and ride lot leaving at 6:53 p.m.

The change allows the 15-minute interval between buses to continue for one more trip southbound in the evening.

That bus also had been dead heading back into Spokane, but will now carry passengers to the Plaza, Otterstrom said.

“If we put service there (on Division), people will ride,” he said.

On the South Regal No. 45 route, a new bus shelter has been built at 57th Avenue and Regal Street. STA is adding a new timepoint location to the schedule and making minor adustments to times listed on the schedule.

In Cheney, three buses serving the city and Eastern Washington University have been using temporary loading and unloading locations at EWU, which will be reflected in the schedule.

Dropoffs are at Ninth and Elm streets and boardings are at Elm and C streets during contruction at the Pence Union Building on campus. The temporary relocation will last through summer 2018.

While the changes this month are relatively few, STA is looking ahead to the first wave of improved service under a sales-tax measure passed by voters in November.

They involve increased late Saturday service and extended weekend service on Wellesley Avenue on the North Side. Also, the May changes will bring new bus service to East Indiana Avenue in Spokane Valley, as well as improved service to Airway Heights and the West Plains on weekends.

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