A Citylink bus is parked outside the Great Falls Transportation Center in Auburn. 

AUBURN — A series of changes proposed for Lewiston-Auburn’s Citylink bus system centers in Auburn would most notably affect the New Auburn, Minot Avenue and mall shuttle routes. 

The proposal from the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, presented to the public Thursday, would split the New Auburn/Minot Avenue run into two separate 30-minute routes running hourly. 

The additional half-hour service will take away from the mall shuttle service, where the committee is proposing to reduce service from 11 hours each weekday to 5½ hours, turning a 30-minute “headway” into 60 minutes. 

Marsha Bennett, transit coordinator for the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, said she received a letter Thursday from a rider concerned about the reduced mall shuttle service, but said other riders had given generally positive feedback on the proposal.

The transit committee will make a final decision next week based on the feedback it receives this week. 

Bennett said the reduced mall service could extend shopping trips for riders, who use the 30-minute intervals to make quicker stops at stores. 

“Now, it would be an hour before the next bus goes by,” she said. 

As of now, two buses are used to run the route. The proposed changes would have the first mall shuttle leave Wal-Mart at 6:30 a.m., with the last bus leaving Wal-Mart at 5:30 p.m. 

Splitting the New Auburn and Minot Avenue routes will bring service back to a few stops that were eliminated last year when the two routes were combined. 

Bennett said budget cuts this year forced the committee to reduce service by one bus. 

“They had to find a way to reduce service with the least amount of impact to the riders,” she said. 

The New Auburn and Minot Avenue routes were combined in August 2016, after the City Council voted to pay the system $53,000 less than the city of Lewiston for the 2016-17 fiscal year. According to a Sun Journal article last year, that reduction cost matching federal money as well, with total cuts of $106,000.

Bennett said that since the routes were combined, the bus has either been running late or running nonstop with no breaks, which caused the committee to look again at the two routes. 

In New Auburn, the weekday route would add service back to South Main Street and Cook Street and to Walton School. The weekday Minot Avenue run would add service to Edward Little High School by way of Western Avenue to Court Street to Harris Street and then back out to Western Avenue to Minot Avenue.

Bennett said the committee may receive beneficial feedback from riders.

“They might come up with something really good, and maybe we’ll go with that,” she said. “Sometimes the riders have really good suggestions. They’re the ones out there riding all day.” 

The Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee is a quasi-municipal agency that provides the Citylink public bus system to the Twin Cities. 

The committee was established in 1976 with an agreement between Lewiston and Auburn, and is staffed by the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. 

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Highlights of proposed changes:

* Reduce the mall shuttle to 60-minute headways (Auburn).

* Create a 30-minute New Auburn route (Auburn).

* Create a 30-minute Minot Avenue route (Auburn).

For a complete rundown, click here

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