New Bus Service Launches In Rantoul
Monday, November 7th, marks the first day for the Eagle Express --- a new commuter bus route serving Rantoul.
The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit is operating the service through its Champaign County Area Rural Transit System, or C-CARTS, which provides door-to-door bus rides in the area.
CU Mass Transit Chief Operating Officer Bryan Smith said in an October interview that transit officials believe the Eagle Express is needed because the majority of calls to C-CARTS for door-to-door rides come from the Rantoul area.
In addition, Smith says Rantoul village officials requested the service for the industrial park on the west side of town.
“The employers up on the west side in that industrial park, they have trouble getting employees, because they have trouble getting access to transportation”, said Smith. “So they’ve got hundreds of jobs where they need to fill, and there are people who want to fill them, but they can’t get there.”
But Smith also hopes the Eagle Express will help Rantoul residents get around town for other purposes as well.
“If you look at the poverty level in Rantoul, there’s a significant number of folks that don’t have a way to get around”, said Smith. “So this is a way to economically offer that, and try to alleviate some of the very expensive door-to-door service, and offer a more efficient fixed-route service.”
With that goal in mind, C-CARTS is also launching daily bus service between Rantoul and Champaign-Urbana, along a route that has been named the Rantoul Connector.
The Eagle Express will run weekdays with seven trips in the morning from 5 to 8:15 AM, and six trips in the afternoon from 3 until to 6 PM. Bus fare is two dollars a ride --- one dollar for seniors and people with disabilities.
The service is funded by a federal grant, plus a matching grant from the village of Rantoul.