LeRoy City Lines expands commuter service to Chester
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 9:34am admin
By Axel Gumbel Mower County Independent firstname.lastname@example.org 612-701-0381
LeRoy, Minn. - LeRoy City Lines is expanding its weekday commuter service to Chester.
Effective Friday, Sep. 1, all regular routes will begin and end in the Iowa town, just south of the state line on U.S. Highway 63. Morning departure times in Chester will be 5:10 a.m. and 6:10 a.m., and evening arrival times will be 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. The Chester stop will be at Route 63 Travel Plaza, east of the main building, where passengers also can park for free.
By serving Chester, LeRoy City Lines hopes to offer an alternative for commuters from Iowa, who currently drive to Spring Valley and then board another commuter bus to Rochester. Because LeRoy City Lines will not stop in Spring Valley, Racine or Stewartville, the total commute will be comparable in length.
The bus line will also discontinue the 5:45 a.m. Grand Meadow stop, due to near zero ridership, which will make the early route from Chester a few minutes faster yet.
Earlier this year, LeRoy City Lines, which is owned by the city of LeRoy and managed by the LeRoy Economic Development Authority (EDA) had added the experimental second, early morning commuter route from June through August. That route was then extended through September and will now become permanent with the new Chester stop. While passenger counts on that route have been low, the EDA says that was not unexpected due to the test happening during the summer months, when fewer people take the bus.
The EDA anticipates the combination of colder weather and new riders from North Iowa to give the early morning route a healthy boost.
Fares for the Chester stop will be the same as they are for LeRoy and Grand Meadow riders. A single ride will cost $10, a 10-ride punch pass will cost $86 ($46 for Mayo employees with subsidy) and a monthly pass will cost $219 ($133 for Mayo employees with subsidy). The prices continue to match what riders are paying for other bus service out of Spring Valley.
The EDA also recently announced a reduction of the monthly fare for Mayo employees from $139 to $133. This decision came after failed attempts to get LeRoy City Lines added to Mayo Clinic’s bus pass payroll deduction program.
By purchasing an annual pass via payroll deduction, the price for a monthly pass comes down to $133, or an additional $6 savings. Because LeRoy City Lines cannot offer an annual pass to Mayo employees, the price of the monthly pass was reduced to create the same incentive.
Mayo says it currently cannot add LeRoy City Lines to its payroll deduction program because not enough riders would use the program.