DULUTH – A new bus route will circle downtown between the library and the medical district — free of charge.
The “DuLooper” service is set to launch March 1 and will operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, with a bus every 15 minutes.
“We believe that the free circulator route will provide improved access for those who live and work downtown,” Duluth Transit Authority General Manager Phil Pumphrey said in a statement. “The route reaches employers, entertainment, dining, and the healthcare facilities that are common destinations.”
The route, with nearly two dozen stops mostly along Superior, Michigan and 3rd streets, is also meant to help folks get around the next few years of construction surrounding the hospitals. An online poll determined the name of the route, DuLooper; other options included the Duluth Zephyr, the Zenith Flyer and the Emerald Loop.
An existing promotion that offers 25-cent fares during off-peak hours for short distances on Superior Street downtown, called DASH, will likely be phased out. A similar reduced-fare special near the mall, MASH, may end as well.
The DTA is also adding daily trips to Route 1 between downtown and the zoo; more trips on Route 10H between the mall and downtown; and eliminating the aquarium loop, which started in August and “has not met performance standards,” according to the agency.
More frequent trips on existing routes has been the top request from riders, according to a 2017 transit plan.
The public is invited to comment on the DuLooper and other changes at duluthtransit.com or at an open house from 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at the transit center, 228 W. Michigan St.
The DTA also announced free bus rides to and from the Ruth House in Superior, Wis., on Route 16 for those who need a warm place to stay. That’s in addition to free fares to the Gloria Dei and CHUM warming shelters in Duluth.