Local

July 7, 2017
 

Tiefort Shuttle upgrades deliver faster, better public transit

Codi Kozacek

Fort Irwin’s free shuttle service offers service members, contractors, and families an easy way to get around post – and beat the heat.

The Tiefort Shuttle service is in the midst of a major modernization effort that has already cut wait times in half and will soon include the construction of new shelters at all stops on post. The improvements aim to provide faster, more convenient public transportation to the Fort Irwin community.

Designed to help passengers get to work, appointments, and various points of interest, the shuttle is a free, on-post bus service available to anyone who lives or works on Fort Irwin.  Its route includes 10 stops at key locations near NTC Headquarters, the Post Exchange, the Landmark Inn, the Town Center and Reception Campus, Weed Army Hospital and Garrison Headquarters, the DFAC, Freedom Fitness Center, Operations Group Headquarters, the Transportation Motor Pool, and the Class IX Warehouse.  It runs Monday through Friday from 7:50 a.m.-4 p.m., with the exception of federal holidays. 

“It is set up to take passengers from work area to work area, and it’s set up so they can get to their destinations to pick up supplies or pick up assignments, and also to get to the offices they need to go to,” said Nicolas Ceballos, who has worked as a truck driver at Fort Irwin for 13 years. “We’re here to provide transportation for them, and I love doing what I do. So I look forward to seeing passengers ride our shuttles, and I hope in the future we’ll be able to do a great job doing that assignment for Fort Irwin.”

In order to improve the service and bring the system up to date, managers and operators decided to rework the shuttle’s timetable and routes to make it easier to use. As of May 8, passengers no longer need to figure out confusing schedules or meet strict time slots to catch the shuttle, according to Transportation Specialist and Fleet Manager Erick Martinez. Instead, the two, 24-passenger buses run in a continuous, clockwise loop so that the maximum wait time at any given stop is 10 minutes or less. 

“I think it’s more convenient and people understand that better, and they don’t have to worry about that extra piece when planning how they’re going to get around and what time it is coming back,” said Martinez. “If you miss it, previously it could be a 20 or 30-minute wait. Now it’s 10.”

Additional upgrades to the system will make waiting a more enjoyable experience, too. Enclosed shelters are being constructed at the 10 current shuttle stops, as well as an 11th stop that will be located at the new hospital.  Each of the shelters will feature a bench, and managers plan to include a map of the shuttle route and information explaining the shuttle service. For now, passengers can identify the stops by looking for concrete slabs on the right side of the road. Plans are also in the works to give the shuttles a facelift so that they are more easily recognizable.

Martinez encouraged Soldiers and community members to check out the shuttle and see how it works.

“The bus route does go to our TMP, which is a great way for customers who don’t have access to a government vehicle, or either don’t want or don’t have a POV available to them, to get over there and pick up a government-owned, GSA lease vehicle for official business,” he said.

“Bottom line is, it’s free and it’s better than walking in the hot sun, especially during the summer. We want our rotation unit, everyone who’s able to use it, to just get on there. I just want them to know it’s free and it’s worth using, and to just give it a shot and see if it can be helpful to you.”




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