Transit System Finalizes Rivian Bus Line Plans

ByShannon J. Cortes

Aug 24, 2022

MCLEAN COUNTY (Heart of Illinois ABC) – The Bloomington-Normal Transit System will launch a new west side route serving the local Rivian plant starting Oct. 2 following action Tuesday by the board of directors of Connect Transit.

It will be called Cobalt Line because Rivian is one of the first electric vehicle makers not to use cobalt in its batteries, Connect Transit staff said.

Administrators approved the new U-shaped route running from Uptown Normal to the Rivian plant, then heading east to downtown Bloomington.

Connect Transit’s new Cobalt line serves Rivian and the west side of Bloomington-Normal.(Connect public transport)

Along the way, the bus will make several stops along West College Avenue and West Market Street, serving the west side of Walmart and OSF PromptCare on Rivian Motorway, said Ryan Whitehouse, chairman of the Connect Transit Board.

Buses will run every 30 minutes during peak hours seven days a week.

To help pay for the new service, Connect Transit is eliminating the Lime Line, which served a smaller portion of the West Side.

The increased service will cost nearly $650,000, 65% of which will be paid for by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Downstate Operation Program. The rest will come from local Connect Transit dollars and federal grants, according to the chief executive’s report.

For the first month, Connect Transit will not charge fares on the Cobalt line to encourage people to try the new service.

Free rides for library card holders

Also on Tuesday, the council approved the provision of free bus rides throughout September for anyone with a current Bloomington or Normal Public Library card.

September is library card month, and it’s a way to promote libraries and public transit, Connect Transit officials said.