The Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS) Route Study and COA examined all aspects of transit service in the Muskegon region, including service performance and funding sustainability. At the root of many of MATS’ challenges was an unsustainable funding situation. However, current and prospective funding partners were hesitant to invest additional resources into a system that had not been substantially revised since 1974, so Foursquare ITP was retained to develop an improved bus network and recommend modifications for a more sustainable funding structure.
Foursquare ITP conducted a comprehensive assessment of MATS’ existing fixed-route and demand-response transit network, as well as the market for transit in the Muskegon region, to determine the system’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Based on these analyses, the Foursquare ITP team developed recommendations for a right-sized and simplified transit network with fixed-route service at its core, complemented by ADA paratransit service where required, and app-based microtransit service where supported by local communities. In addition to developing an updated service plan that reflects and supports the current mobility needs of the Muskegon region, the Foursquare ITP team developed an equitable financial plan designed to incentivize the establishment of coalitions of communities to collectively fund fixed-route and microtransit services.
After we completed the plan in February 2020, Foursquare ITP worked closely with MATS staff to prepare for implementation by developing detailed passenger schedules based on actual field tests, and guiding principles related to facilitating transfers and protecting service reliability. In September 2020, MATS launched the redesigned fixed-route network, and in June 2021, MATS launched Go2, an app-based microtransit system. All of our recommendations have been implemented.