The biggest day of the year for Irish revelers also means the biggest day of the year for “The Loop” — a shuttle bus that provides safe rides between the Quad City downtowns.
Last St. Patrick’s Day, nearly 1,000 riders hopped on board. The service has seen 8 percent growth each year since it started three years ago. Recently, though, worries came that this St. Patrick’s Day might be the Loop’s last.
“We’ve also been hearing the murmurings, and it’s been kinda hard, because we don’t want it to go away either,” said Becky Passman of Iowa-Quad Cities Transit.
That’s because the service is funded by a three-year federal grant that is set to expire this summer.
“It became a matter of — when that time came — whether or not the service would be able to be continued. I’m happy to say that the Loop will continue, it’s been very popular, and it’s a service that the systems have all been very happy to partner in,” said Passman.
Changes are being made, though, to save the service and fit rider demand. The buses will run only Friday and Saturday, cutting Sunday and Thursday service. The hours, though will be extended — running from 6 p.m. to 3 or 3:30 in the morning. An additional bus will also be added to the service, meaning more frequent stops.
The extension also means that Illinois’ bars 3 a.m. closing time will now be covered.
The cities of Bettendorf and Davenport partnered with MetroLink to keep Loop service going in the Quad Cities. Passman said that details are still being ironed out, but the Loop changes will likely start in June.
For the full Loop schedule and map, visit qctransit.com.