The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) reported that in the Grand Traverse area, commuters drive almost twice as much as the national average. Fortunately, locals are lucky enough to have an innovative transportation system that is eager to change this. Recently, BATA has added several new “loops” for people to use, making Northern Michigan’s greatness even easier to access.
The recently updated Village Loops are fantastic for traveling to areas just outside of Traverse City. Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor, Interlochen, Kingsley, and Williamsburg are now all included on BATA’s daily routes. This is fantastic for people who live in those areas, but work in Traverse City. Better yet, people that live in Traverse City can now explore other parts of Northern Michigan without worrying about gas or getting lost.
The City Loops are phenomenal too. These allow people to travel to dozens of locations throughout Traverse City all day. A fair amount of people avoid public transportation because at first, it can be a little confusing to sort out. BATA’s website is fully detailed with maps and times of every stop along each route. There are also brochures with maps at various BATA locations that clearly show the stops, loops, and times available for each bus.
Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails partnered with BATA to create a way for people to be active and utilize public transportation: the Bike-N-Ride. This system is one of the first in the United States and the very first in Michigan. The Bike-N-Ride allows for patrons to ride the 17-mile Leelanau Trail between Suttons Bay and Traverse City and then ride one of their two “retrofitted” buses back again. These buses have the capacity to hold 11 bicycles and child trailers. This is ideal for individuals who want to be able to ride their bicycle into Traverse City for various activities such as shopping, but not have to worry about carrying packages back home at the end of the day.
Most of the regular BATA buses are able to accommodate three bicycles. For individuals who do not want to have to bring their bicycle on the bus with them, BATA has many stops with bicycle racks nearby. They also plan to increase how many stops have bicycle racks in the very near future. Most routes run Monday through Friday from 5:30AM – 9:20PM and weekends are from 9:30AM-7:20PM.
The price for taking a Village Loop one-way is $3.00 and the City Loops are $1.50 each way. There are reduced fares available for individuals with disabilities, seniors, and students. Public transportation is a great way to see Northern Michigan without overspending or stressing about directions. BATA is making riding the bus a fun activity that allows all individuals to access this beautiful area.
Have you ever ridden the BATA bus? What do you recommend for first time riders?