- Harrison Berry
- Michelle Schaeffer rides the No. 9 bus to and from State Street five days a week.
"It's a little confusing, but I know the drivers really well, and they can help me out," she said.
The Regional Transit Center houses eight bus stops beneath Main Street Station and the City Center Plaza—part of a significant, years-long expansion of the public bus program. In August 2015, VRT rolled out more bus service to State Street and Fairview Avenue—two of the system's busiest lines—as well as retrofitting its fleet with automated audio announcement technologies to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Schaeffer said she believes the new facility will make more people enthusiastic about using public transportation, increasing ridership. As rain began to fall outside the station, she praised the underground station for being protected from the elements.
- Harrison Berry
- The sign overlooking the stairwell to the Regional Transit Center's bus stops.
"It should make [riding the bus] a lot easier," she said. "You can stay warmer when it's cold, drier when it rains."
Nearby, Jeanne Greeson made her way upstairs to where still more buses had lined up to take passengers to stops across the Treasure Valley. Greeson was on her way to the senior center near St. Luke's Regional Medical Center, and has been riding VRT buses for four years, five days a week, from her home in the Vista neighborhood.
Outside, VRT bus driver Jack Davis was volunteering, directing people to the appropriate bus stops. A 15-year veteran of VRT, Davis arrived at the Regional Transit Center at 5:30 a.m. to assist. He said the new facility is a game-changer that could herald still more expansions of bus lines.
"It's a step forward, hopefully, for longer buses running more, running longer," he said. "Who knows? Maybe we'll get light rail."