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Kalamazoo Metro Transit's road to recovery

A red bus approaches the viewer through a snowy intersection. There are brick buildings in the background.
Sehvilla Mann

Bus ridership and staffing has improved for Kalamazoo Metro Transit since the height of the pandemic, though things aren't back to normal yet.

Like many organizations, Metro Transit had a hard time hanging on to employees during the pandemic. As a result, it had to cut routes and its entire Sunday service. Executive Director Sean McBride said that has affected ridership, which still hasn’t fully bounced back.

"We’re about 60 percent of where we were pre-pandemic on ridership," McBride said.

However, he added, employee retention has improved.

"We’re finally at a point where were stabilizing our workforce and growing our workforce that we can get back to those hours of operation," McBride said.

Metro Transit plans to bring back Sunday bus service this spring.

"A lot of our riders are dependent and really like our Sunday service so we’re looking forward to that coming back," McBride said.

According to McBride, despite a substantial rise in rise in fuel prices, Kalamazoo Metro Transit will retain its normal rate for bus fares.

"It’s a good option, it’s an affordable option, $1.50 per trip, and we do have wide coverage throughout Kalamazoo county that’s available," McBride said.

Metro Transit’s also asking for public input on how to improve its services.

"We’ll be seeking public feedback on some of the recommendations of this study and then we will begin implementing those changes," McBride said.

The study should be complete this the summer.