HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Huntsville is working on ways to improve bus and transit services.

Starting in May of 2022, it launched a multi-step transit improvement project. Part of that project included getting input from residents about what they wanted to see transit-wise.

Adding bus services on Sunday was “actually the number one request” according to the Public Transit Manager for the City of Huntsville, John Autry.

The city worked with a firm out of San Francisco, California to come up with a five-phase transit improvement plan. You can read that full plan by clicking here.

Here’s a look at the plan’s recommendations:

Phase 1

  • Realign routes to streamline service
  • Add Sunday service
  • Add Route 56 (Bidirectional service along Memorial Parkway, Hobbs Road and Bailey Cove Road)
  • Upgrade Route 4 on Saturday
  • Upgrade Route 8 to 30 minutes

Phase 2

  • Upgrade Routes 5 and 9 to 30 minutes
  • Extend weekday service to 10 p.m.
  • Add Route 100 (service to Huntsville International Airport and Greenbrier Parkway)

Phase 3

  • Upgrade Route 4 to 15 minutes
  • Extend Saturday service to 8 p.m.

Phase 4

  • Upgrade Routes 3 and 7 to 30 minutes

Phase 5

  • Upgrade Routes 6 and 10 to 30 minutes

In a release from the City of Huntsville, Mayor Tommy Battle said, “I’m very pleased with the recommendations outlined in this plan.”

The Mayor is not the only one who is excited to see some changes.

News 19 spoke with Huntsville resident Steven Buchanan as he was switching buses Friday afternoon. He said he is hopeful about an expanded set of services because he relies on taking the bus.

“I have diabetic retinopathy and I can’t drive anymore, and so I use the bus system every day, sometimes twice a day,” Buchanan said.

He said Sunday service would be great so he isn’t restricted when it comes to getting to the store or running errands.

“I think it’s awesome because there’s a lot of times where I need to go to the store for something and I have to load up on Friday or Saturday because the buses don’t run on Sunday.”

In addition to adding service on Sunday, phase one will include creating a new bus route in South Huntsville, called route 56. It will be a bidirectional route along Memorial Parkway.

Autry explained the route will run along the Parkway, Hobbs Road, and Bailey Cove road. It will have stops at popular places like Publix, Walmart, and the Sandra Moon Complex.

The details on the proposed Route 56 provided by the City of Huntsville.

Autry said there used to be a route that served south Huntsville, but it had low ridership. He said growth in population and development in that area helped prompt the need for a new route.

“When a city is growing, our transit service and our transit options need to grow and improve as well,” he said.

Phase two would also add a new route.

Route 100 would extend service into parts of western Madison and Limestone Counties that have been annexed by the City of Huntsville. Route 100 would include stops near Huntsville International Airport and near major employers like Amazon, Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing, Target, and Polaris.

A new proposed route would add service to an area that currently has no bus service.

Autry said as the city has talked with employers and companies in that area, they’ve shared concerns about their employees having transportation to work.

He said a new bus route would make it easier on current and new employees.

“This gives them the ability to get to new jobs that are being offered on the west side of town” Autry said.

The five-phase improvement plan would come with a price tag. The cost would need to be factored into the budget of each fiscal year. Autry said he expects Sunday service to start by the end of 2023.

You can learn more about existing transit options and see maps of the current routes by clicking here.