By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Some MAX bus routes in Jefferson County will be eliminated, and others altered, said representatives of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority on Wednesday.
The changes in service are aimed to enhance efficiency, increase reliability and decrease wait time between trips, according to the BJCTA. At the current moment, certain routes are seeing headways — the amount of time it takes for a bus to arrive at a stop — of one hour, according to Charlotte Shaw, CEO of the BJCTA.
These changes will bring those headways down to 45 minutes, she said.
Additionally, BJCTA is dealing with a shortage of bus drivers, and Shaw said this “re-allocation” allows the authority to drive more buses on routes with higher ridership.
The most significant change is that routes 12, 18 and 43 will no longer be serviced by fixed-route buses, starting in “mid-to-late” May, the authority said.
Route 12 starts at Central Station downtown and travels into Highland Park, ending at the neighborhood’s Piggly Wiggly.
Route 18 starts at Central Station and travels mostly through the Fountain Heights neighborhood, before terminating in the East Thomas neighborhood.
Route 43 starts at Central Station and passes through the Southside and Five Points South neighborhoods, before entering Mountain Brook and servicing the Birmingham Zoo.
The BJCTA is urging riders of routes on the list to be eliminated to use Birmingham On-Demand, a ride-booking service powered by transportation technology company Via, in the gaps.
Though Birmingham On-Demand has seen recent expansions, the service does not cover all the ground of the soon to be eliminated routes. To check the service area, residents can download the “Birmingham On-Demand” app for smartphones or visit https://city.ridewithvia.com/birmingham.
In addition to the elimination of those routes, others will also be changed in May. Routes 7, 17, 25 and 48 will no longer travel to Central Station. Instead, riders will be connected to Birmingham Xpress (BX) bus rapid transit buses at one of the two new transit centers on the West and East sides of the city, significantly shortening the routes.
Routes 7 (Fairfield) and 48 (South Powderly) will soon connect to the BX at the West Transit Center by the Birmingham CrossPlex in Central Park. Routes 17 (Eastwood shuttle) and 25 (Center Point) will soon connect to the BX at the East Transit Center in Woodlawn.
The BJCTA also announced that they will be holding several informational sessions across their service area to speak with riders about how the changes will affect their transportation.
The dates and locations for those meetings are below:
April 3, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. – East Transit Center, Woodlawn
April 6, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. – Fairfield City Hall at 4701 Gary Avenue
April 12, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Central Station at 1700 Morris Avenue in Birmingham
April 12, 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. – Central Station at 1700 Morris Avenue in Birmingham
April 13, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. – Five Points West Library at 4812 Avenue W in Birmingham
For more information, visit https://maxtransit.org/connect or call (205) 521-0101.
Updated at 9:45 a.m. on 03/23/2023 to clarify the information about routes to be eliminated.