Starting Monday, the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA), in partnership with Benzie Bus, is increasing regional service with weekday connections to Lake Ann, Mich. and the addition of Express Routes from Interlochen, Mich. and Acme/Williamsburg, Mich. (starting Feb. 13) to downtown Traverse City.

Increased connectivity includes:

  • New direct service to Benzie County, through Lake Ann.
  • Expanded service to Brookside Commons and Munson Medical Center.
  • Limited-stop express service to and from Interlochen and Acme/Williamsburg to Traverse City with travel times of 30 minutes or less

“One of BATA’s goals is to continue to enhance transportation options for our commuter population in conjunction with our regional transportation partners,” said BATA Executive Director Kelly Dunham. “Commuters have shared that offering direct routes to downtown Traverse City would make using public transportation a more viable option for getting to and from work and we’re excited to pilot these new Express Routes made possible by grant funding support from Rotary Charities and MDOT.”

Funding for the expanded service pilot came from a grant BATA and Benzie Bus received from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) through the Job-Access Reverse Commuter (JARC) program to increase connectivity for low-income service areas and expand commuting options. Rotary Charities also provided grant support to allow BATA and Benzie Bus to gather input from local businesses on transportation needs with the help of Networks Northwest.  

The new Express Routes will increase transit availability for our regional commuters while reducing travel time by more than 50%. Express routes from Acme Meijer and Ric’s Market in Interlochen to downtown Traverse City will average 25 minutes, and will run Monday to Friday during morning and evening commute times. Fare prices for the service will be $3.00 one-way or $1.50 for riders who qualify for reduced fare and transfers from Benzie Bus to BATA will be accepted in Interlochen and Lake Ann.

These expanded services will give Benzie County residents 22 ways to commute to Traverse City including 10 express routes plus 12 regular rides from Interlochen each day.