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Rerouting of Rochester bus routes will be delayed

RTS Bus on Main Street in downtown Rochester
James Brown /
RTS Bus on Main Street in downtown Rochester

Regional Transit Service, the public bus system for Rochester and its suburbs, was supposed to launch new bus routes with more frequent service on June 29, along with some other operational changes.

Now, the effort is on indefinite hold.

On Friday, RTS officials announced it would delay the implementation of the redesign, known as Reimagine RTS, for the foreseeable future, citing complications stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The delay is a notable setback for the agency, which has spent close to three years soliciting public input on the bus system and working with consultants to revamp its operations.

The plan was to pare back the number of fixed bus routes and tweak the remaining ones so they are more direct. Buses would run with greater frequency on the remaining lines, and the agency would create “on-demand zones” in areas where bus lines were eliminated.

In those areas, RTS planned to use smaller buses and vans to pick up passengers who request a ride, either through the service’s app or through its customer service line.

“In order to successfully launch the new transit system, all necessary technology systems must be in place, new employees must be hired and trained, and our customers must be educated,” RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said. “It has reached the point in our project plan where we can no longer complete all these tasks by June 29.

“Once we are able to resume normal operation, we will identify what, if anything, we can launch on June 29, as well as the date when the entire system will be in place. In the meantime, we will continue progressing the elements of the project we can.”

Jeremy Moule is CITY's news editor. He can be reached at