V-Line (bus)

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VLineLogo.png
V-Line Orange.jpg
Orange Line route bus stops at Valparaiso University.
Slogan Take the Bus, No Fuss
Parent City of Valparaiso
Founded 2007
Headquarters 166 Lincolnway [1]
Locale Valparaiso, Indiana
Service area Valparaiso, Dune Park.
Service type Deviated fixed route[2]
Routes 5
Hubs 1
Fleet 5[2]
Annual ridership 120,000
Fuel type Gasoline[2]
Operator Ride Right (beginning September 2010)[2]
Chief executive Taylor Wegrzyn, Transit Manager[2]
Website V-Line

The V-Line is the local bus operation in Valparaiso, Indiana. Service began on October 1, 2007 making Valparaiso one of the smallest cities in the United States to have its own independent public transit system.[3][4]

Operations[edit]

The V-line was originally operated by McDonald Transit, a national transit operator primarily serving universities. Ride Right took over the operations on Fall 2010. In Valparaiso, the bus mostly serves the elderly and students of Valparaiso University. Commuters within the city also use it, but it is secondary to personal vehicles as a mode of transit.[5]

The system consists of 104 stops along 4 lines. The Green Line, Yellow Line, Red line, and Brown Line operate in the city of Valparaiso on weekdays and weekends. These three lines run as "flexible fixed" routes, meaning they have standard, scheduled stops which can be altered en route to meet the needs of those who cannot otherwise reach the bus.[5] The fourth line, the Orange Line, operates express between Valparaiso University's student center and the Dune Park South Shore rail on Fridays-Sundays when Valparaiso University is in session and Fridays-Saturdays during the summer.[6] The line does not operate when NICTD conducts track and canatary repairs. On May 18, 2009, V-Line introduced a shuttle service that runs from Dune Park station to Valparaiso’s Village Station on weekdays during evenings as a way to supplement ChicaGo Dash bus service. However, that service was eliminated on February 1, 2010 due to low ridership.[7]

The system was started using a $615,000 federal grant. Until early 2008, the system used rented buses 16-24 person capacity minibuses. In Jan. 2008, new buses of similar capacity were delivered.[8] A standard one-way fare costs $1.00 with one free transfer. Passengers are expressly forbidden from using the transfer on the same route. Senior citizens, students, children 5-18, and disabled persons can ride for half. Young children (under age 4) and Valparaiso University students ride for free.[9]

History of service changes[edit]

In August 2009, Valparaiso officials announced a series of changes that went into effect at the end of the month. First and foremost, V-Line gained a new Red Line route, which began service August 28, 2009. It is essentially an alternate version of the Orange Line route – the buses that would previously sit idle during the scheduling breaks now travel around the city, overlapping with Green Line, Yellow Line and Brown Line buses.[10] During Sundays, it serves as an alternative to Yellow and Green Line routes, which don't operate on the first days of the week. The Red Line route is added on experimental basis for three months – if it does well, it will be made permanent.[11] Since then, the Red Line has become a permanent route for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It runs in a loop around the city before turning into the Orange Line route and running to the Dune Park NICTD trains station.

In addition to introducing the Red Line, V-Line rearranged the schedules for the other routes. For Orange Line, the fall-spring Friday and Saturday service was truncated from 1:00 AM to 10:20 PM and 10:00 PM, respectively. As the result, Saturday and Sunday schedules became identical. By contrast, Yellow and Green Line route schedules were extended, running an hour later than before. Brown Line route was expanded, adding service to Ivy Tech and the Valparaiso Walk shopping complex.[12] In December 2013, the Brown Line route expanded its hours. It now begins at 12PM.

After South Shore Line adjusted its weekend schedule on November 22, 2009, V-Line adjusted Orange Line and Red Line weekend schedules. Orange Line route's service hours shifted, running between 9:15 AM and 11:05 PM. The wait times at Dune Park station were shifted to allow the bus to connect to both eastbound and westbound trains (something that the previous version of the schedule rarely allowed). Red Line's service hours were shifted and extended - it now started at 8:15 AM rather than 7:45 AM and ended at 11:55 PM rather than 10:35 PM. The decrease in the number of weekend trains allowed Valparaiso officials to increase Red Line's service frequencies during morning and evening hours.

On December 3, 2009, V-Line General Manager Ryan Landers stated that system ridership was down for all lines. He also explained that while Red Line ridership was climbing, it was still significantly below the numbers for other routes, remaining in double digits. Landers explained that he would like to keep the Red Line running for another six months - if the ridership doesn't pick up significantly, he will be forced to shut it down. Finally, he noted that while he would like to buy more vehicles in order to allow for shorter headways, the system can't afford them as of this writing.[13]

On May 15, 2010, the V-Line summer schedule was altered. Whereas before, Brown Line route was shut down while Orange Line route continued operating at reduced hours, this time around Orange, Brown and Red routes were completely shut down for the entire duration of the summer schedule.[14]

In the spring of 2010, the City of Valparaiso expressed its desire to consolidate operations of V-Line and ChicaGo Dash, bringing both systems under the same operator by fall 2010, when the current contracts expire.[15] It was hoped that consolidation would save money. Ultimately, though, the city decided to switch to a new contractor for V-Line and leave ChicaGo Dash as is.[16] The city is also considering revamping the current routes, but no clear plans have been announced at this time.[17]

In May 2011, the city of Valparaiso considered altering the schedule the same way as the previous summer. However, the feedback from the riders convinced it to merely cut the Brown Line route for the summer and leave Orange Line and Red Line routes as is. In addition, the Green Line, Yellow Line and Red Line routes were temporarily altered to make up for the gaps in service that resulted from the suspension of the Brown Line route.[18]

In December 2013, the City of Valparaiso began a route study of the V-Line bus service. The study will finish in Spring 2014. The results of the study will aid in determining what changes are needed to the bus service to provide the best service possible with the resources at hand.

Routes[edit]

     Green Line - Technical Center to Porter's Vale to Vale Park Rd.
     Yellow Line - Andover Plaza to Downtown to Bullseye Lake Rd.
     Brown Line - Porter's Vale to Valparaiso Marketplace to Downtown
     Orange Line - Dune Park Station to Valparaiso University
     Red Line - Bullseye Lake Road to Downtown to Vale Park Rd.

Ridership Statistics[edit]

2008[edit]

Month Total Yellow Line Green Line Brown Line Orange Line
January n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
February n/a n/a n/a n/a 377
March [19] 3,133 1,116 1,136 638 243
April [20] 4,085 1,207 1,178 1,405 295
May [21] 3,585 1,350 1,288 769 178
June n/a n/a n/a -- n/a
July n/a n/a n/a -- n/a
August [22] 4,819 1,843 2,039 734 203
September [23] 6,512 1,738 1,543 2,744 487
October [24] 7,023 2,045 1,875 2,527 576
November [25] 5,822 1,745 1,567 1,941 569
December[25] 5,389 1,615 1,727 1,858 189

2009[edit]

Month Total Yellow Line Green Line Brown Line Orange Line Red Line
January [26] 6,412 1,801 2,034 2,235 342 --
February [27] 6,307 1,627 1,849 2,383 403 --
March [28] 5,683 2,135 2,104 1,158 285 --
April [29] 6,320 1,956 1,847 2,164 535 --
May [30] 4,964 1,924 1,925 910 205 --
June [31] 4,224 2,090 2,069 -- 65 --
July [11] 4,089 1,896 2,120 -- 73 --
August [32] n/a 1,919 2,119 n/a n/a n/a
September [32] 5,570 1,850 1,985 1,421 261 53
October [13] 5,885 app 2,000 app 2,000 1,372 350 44
November [13] 5,030 app 1,900 app 1,900 857 309 56
December [33] 4,640 1,656 1,865 859 211 49

2010[edit]

Month Total Yellow Line Green Line Brown Line Orange Line Red Line
January [34] 5,525 1,801 1,789 1,563 234 37
February [35] 5,672 1,890 2,019 1,376 333 54
March [35] 5,741 2,396 2,460 712 148 35
April [36] 5,965 2,356 2,290 1,039 218 62
May [37] 4,323 1,969 1,807 461 61 25
June n/a n/a n/a -- -- --
July n/a n/a n/a -- -- --
August [38] 6,262 2,498 2,578 1,103 51 32
September [38] 7,238 2,356 2,343 2,115 298 126
October [39] 7,486 2,550 2,327 2,108 338 163
November n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
December [40] 6,770 2,621 2,332 1,483 186 148

2011[edit]

Month Total Yellow Line Green Line Brown Line Orange Line Red Line
January [41] 8,136 2,927 2,410 2,290 359 150
February [42] 7,088 2,734 2,203 1,632 341 178
March [43] 7,791 3,131 2,734 1,433 320 173
April [44] 7,162 2,570 2,391 1,582 404 177

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/v-line/contactus.html
  2. ^ a b c d e 2009 Indiana Public Transit Annual Report pg 146 - 147
  3. ^ V-Line Welcome Aboard!
  4. ^ http://www.post-trib.com/news/opinion/588372,edit.article
  5. ^ a b "Valpo buses gain ridership each day" by Phil Wieland
  6. ^ V-Line Rider Information - Routes
  7. ^ http://www.chicagodash.com/news/Newsletter011510.pdf
  8. ^ MassTransitMag.com » Article » 'V-Line' Ready to Roll in Valparaiso
  9. ^ V-Line Rider Information - Fares
  10. ^ http://www.ci.valparaiso.in.us/v-line/timetables_redfriday.html
  11. ^ a b "V-Line buses to run later and on Sundays" by Phil Wieland
  12. ^ Summary of the most recent service updates
  13. ^ a b c "Drop in student use hurts bus ridership" by Phil Wieland
  14. ^ The announcement on V-Line's official website
  15. ^ "Bus Lines May Consolidate" by James S. D. Wolf Jr
  16. ^ "Bus line costs expected to go down" by James D. Wolf Jr.
  17. ^ 2010 V-Line and ChicaGo Dash RFP Proposal Questions (Page 6)
  18. ^ http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/porter/5614733-418/valpo-v-line-will-not-cancel-bus-routes-this-summer.html
  19. ^ "V-Line adds shopping center routes" by Phil Wieland
  20. ^ V-Line tops 4,000 riders in April
  21. ^ "Fuel prices help boost V-Line ridership" by Phil Wieland
  22. ^ "Riders help Valparaiso bus service break record" by Phil Wieland
  23. ^ V-Line seeks VU boost
  24. ^ V-Line tops 7,000 riders in October
  25. ^ a b "V-Line reaches first-year goal, wants to grow" by Phil Wieland
  26. ^ V-Line riders not snowed by weather
  27. ^ City, VU close to V-Line agreement
  28. ^ Valpo V-Line hopes to extend hours in summer
  29. ^ V-Line ridership down a little in April
  30. ^ "V-Line ridership holds steady; changes likely" by Phil Wieland
  31. ^ "V-Line to expand service" by Phil Wieland
  32. ^ a b "V-Line September ridership down from year ago" by Phil Wieland
  33. ^ "V-Line Ridership Down in December" by Phil Wieland
  34. ^ "January a good month for Valpo V-Line, Dash" by Phil Wieland
  35. ^ a b "V-Line shows 3rd straight increase in riders" by Phil Wieland
  36. ^ "V-Line ridership up, again" by Phil Wieland
  37. ^ "4 firms want to run city's bus lines" by Phil Wieland
  38. ^ a b "V-Line, Dash set ridership records in September" by Phil Wieland
  39. ^ "Ridership records set on V-Line, Dash buses" by Phil Wieland
  40. ^ "Soaring gas prices send Dash ridership soaring, too" by Phil Wieland
  41. ^ "Valpo buses getting more and more popular" by Phil Wieland
  42. ^ "Valpo bus ridership remains strong in February" by Phil Wieland
  43. ^ "More people riding Valpo buses" by Phil Wieland
  44. ^ "Valpo buses have more riders, higher fuel costs" by Phil Wieland

External links[edit]

Official Website
V-Line News archive at Valparaiso University's Website
Unofficial Google Map