It was last year that Metro transit was told by Chapel Hill Mall officials that it could no longer use the mall parking lot as a transfer point for its buses. That forced the transfers out on to Bucholzer Boulevard where riders had to dodge cars and wait in sometimes stormy weather for their next bus.
But that will all change on Sunday when Metro begins its summer routes to the Chapel Hill area.
Metro's Molly Becker tells AkronNewsNow " We bought the former Bakers Square property on Independence Avenue, so that our passengers can now be out of the elements for weather, can catch their buses there, and buses can transfer. People can get on and off the buses at the old Bakers Square property, which we call the Independence Turnaround."
Becker says the transit system also has plans for the old restaurant building on the property. " We have shelters out there. Long term we're looking at maybe making it a mini customer service center, maybe even having a cafe. The benefit is we own the property, so we can no longer have someone tell us we have to leave the property and that's the benefit," says Becker.
Becker says its a big convenience factor for Metro riders. " They don't have to be waiting in a parking lot, and the buses don't have to wait over in the street.All the buses can do all their business right there On Independence. Burt it doesn't change any of the bus stops. The bus stops are the same."
Metro is making only minor summer route changes beginning Sunday, and she says the new turnaround should be a big improvement over the congestion that was created on Bucholzer Boulevard by the bus transfers.