Davenport will begin talks with MetroLink about creating a regional bus system. Last night, the city council authorized staff to meet with MetroLink, which serves the Illinois Quad Cities.
Finance Director Brandon Wright says Davenport's contract with the current manager of Citibus, First Transit, will expire at the end of the month. And in the first phase of the process, Wright says MetroLink would take over customer service.
"We're going to test it out for awhile with our two agencies. We're going to be contracting with them to provide the services for us that we need in those areas. In the meantime, working towards how do we actually consolidate the system into one, how are we going to make that work as far as all the grant requirements go as well as all the expectations of customers in the area."
Wright says creating a regional bus system would allow all Quad Cities passengers to benefit from MetroLink's emphasis on new technology and government grants.
"As we tap into that as a region, then the level of service in Davenport will certainly step up. Because it will have access to a lot of that creative thinking about how do you create a much better bus system. When traditionally in Davenport, we've been much more focused on can we get the buses out the doors in the morning, can we make sure the buses operate and things like that. But not necessarily that long term planning that creates a better system."
If Davenport is satisfied with MetroLink's customer service and management of Citibus, Wright says the next step would be to merge dispatching. And the final step would be formal consolidation. The most challenging part of the process is the bi-state nature of the Quad Cities and the differences in how Illinois and Iowa fund mass transit.