By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The main transfer point for the county transit system will move to a temporary hub at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport early next month.
The free bus system, GoLine, operated by the Senior Resource Association, will be moving the bus transfer hub from its current location in the parking lot adjacent to the old county administration building to Pro Flite Drive on the airport property.
The Pro Flite Drive transfer hub will be a temporary hub until a permanent hub is constructed on 17th Street near the intersection with the railroad tracks which should be completed in two years, said Bob Keating, community development director with the county.
Moving the hub out of its current location has been on the Vero Beach City Council's radar for several years because of complaints from residents about the impact of the hub.
The area around the old county administration building has many older homes, some having received historical designation. The neighborhood is known as Original Town, and several residents have spoken out over the past few years against the hub because of the increased pedestrian traffic, crime and garbage.
Karen Deigl, president and CEO of the Senior Resource Association, said the transition would be complete on June 3.
"The move to the airport is going to be fairly easy to transition because of the close proximity to our current location," Ms. Deigl said.
Regular riders are already receiving notice that their bus stops may be a little different, she said.
The temporary site was approved for a maximum of 24 months and will include three green bus shelters and portable bathroom facilities. While the bus hub is using Pro Flite Drive, it will not be open to through traffic, Ms. Deigl said.
The permanent site off of 17th Street near the railroad tracks will be more difficult of a transition, but having a plan of action is a good feeling.
"I'm glad I'm not hub-less anymore," she said with a laugh.
Finding a suitable site was difficult, Ms. Deigl said.
The property needed to be within a certain area of town to be effective for ridership, a certain size and eligible to receive federal money.
The permanent site will have hard restroom facilities, shelters, a maintenance room and potentially a small office space.
The next step is to send out requests for proposals for project, Ms. Deigl said.
For more information about the GoLine transit system, visit www.golineirt.com.