Tough finances are not preventing the City of Bellevue from trying to improve its lone bus route.
Bellevue Planning Director Chris Shewchuk said Friday that ongoing discussions with Metro Area Transit, greater Omaha’s public bus transportation service, initially focused on creating a second route in southwest Bellevue but that proved too expensive.
He said it would have cost twice as much as the existing route, which costs about $40,000 a year after federal subsidies are applied.
The proposed second route would have connected Olde Towne to Twin Creek via Highway 370, heading north on 36th Street to Cornhusker Road and east to the Wolf Creek shopping complex where Walmart is located.
The existing route – Route 95 – enters Bellevue via the Kennedy Freeway at Fort Crook Road, heads south on Fort Crook Road before heading north on Galvin Road to Mission Avenue.
It then takes an Olde Towne loop along Mission Avenue around to Harvell Drive, onto Bellevue Boulevard from Harvell Drive before linking up to northbound Fort Crook Road at Childs Road, taking Fort Crook Road north into Omaha.
Shewchuk said discussions now focus on how Route 95 might be made more efficient.
Although no decisions have been made, and proposals are very tentative, he said the route might become more express, with fewer stops.
A speedier route, with two buses in the morning and two in the evening, might prove more attractive to people traveling to Omaha, or Omaha residents traveling to Bellevue.
A park-and-ride approach might be used in which stops would be reserved for locations with large parking lots.
He said owners of the proposed park-and-ride locations would have to be consulted, and that has not yet happened, but stops are being considered in the parking lots of the two No Frills grocery stores, the plaza across from Bellevue University, and the Bellevue Public Schools’ Lied Activities Center, among others.
“A few park-and-ride locations instead of stopping at every other corner,” Shewchuk said.