- On May 4, residents of the City of Peoria, Village of Peoria Heights and West Peoria Township voted to form the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (GPMTD). The federal government gave Peoria a grant to purchase new buses (33 to start). GPMTD provided 667,142 passenger rides during the first year.
- In December, the GPMTD Board of Trustees approved a partnership with the City of East Peoria to provide service in East Peoria.
- GPMTD contracted with First Transit to manage the daily operations of the District, and First Transit has been the sole management provider for GPMTD since then.
1987 – GPMTD began the Stuff-A-Bus food drive to benefit the community by filling a GP Transit bus with food donations that were donated to a local non-profit organization that provided a food pantry to those in need.
1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed by Congress. GPMTD began to provide ADA Paratransit transportation for passengers with disabilities.
1991 – As part of the national ethanol project, the Greater Peoria community was the first transit system in the country to run ethanol-fueled buses in its fleet. GPMTD’s ethanol project was the largest mass transit test fleet in the nation.
2000 -The moniker GP Transit was changed to CityLink to more efficiently advertise GPMTD. The colors of the buses were changed from orange and white to maroon and gray with gold striping.
- GPMTD entered into a contract with the City of Pekin to offer service in Pekin, North Pekin and Creve Coeur.
- GPMTD entered into a contract with MV Transportation to offer paratransit service, which had previously been provided by a private company. The Board also approved naming the new service CityLift.
2002 – On December 2, night service was added to the schedule, providing service to passengers from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on designated routes. This enabled night workers and travelers to have extended transportation opportunities.
- A modern, off-street Transit Center located in the 400 block of SW Adams was completed.
- The YWCA partnered with CityLink by opening a day care center within the Transit Center. The arrangement was the first in the nation to provide this combination of onsite childcare and transportation.
- Twelve new buses were added to the fleet replacing older buses. Seven were 40-foot, low-floor buses and five were 35-foot, low-floor buses. These buses made it easier for passengers to enter and leave at curb level.
- CityLink buses helped to relieve traffic congestion during the six-month closing of the I-74 Bridge over the Illinois River.
- Security cameras were added to the interiors of the buses to aid with the safety of passengers and CityLink employees.
2008 – CityLink began celebrating Passenger Appreciation Day on April 20, 2008. This day is in honor of former CityLink General Manager Jerome Lilly, who passed away unexpectedly in 2007. April 20 was chosen as the date for Passenger Appreciation Day because it was Lilly’s birthday.
- CityLink began the process to order 46 new 35-foot, low-floor transit coaches.
- GPMTD began CityLift paratransit service in Pekin.
2011 – Twenty-six 35-foot, low-floor transit coaches were delivered.
- Five 35-foot, low-floor transit coaches were delivered.
- GPMTD began to offer half-fares for eligible US military veterans.
2013 -The 15 remaining 35-foot, low-floor transit coaches were delivered in January.
- GPMTD purchased six supervisor vans and two light duty vans. Both types of vehicles are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- On June 8, for the first time in its 40-plus year history, the GPMTD offered Sunday service, with 2,696 riders taking advantage of the new service.
- As a result of conversations with Bike Peoria, a group of citizens and cycling enthusiasts advocating for a more bike-friendly city and region, CityLink added “Bikes and CityLink” information to the website and the Rider’s Guide. This provides cyclists with information on how to use transit as part of their cycling experience.
- The installation of new solar powered bus shelters was initiated. The shelters have solar power LED lighting which provides added safety and security for passengers and allows better visibility for CityLink operators.
- CityLink entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Peoria County to oversee rural transportation service provider, CountyLink.
- CityLink experienced record ridership of 3,420,705 for the 2015 Fiscal Year period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. The previous record fiscal year ridership of 3,408,232 was set in 2013.
- Began offering the $3 Day Pass, which provides unlimited rides for one service day, and the $40 30-Day Pass, which offers unlimited rides for 30 consecutive service days. Both passes can be activated for the first time at any time during a month.
- A Genfare self-service ticket vending machine was installed in the Transit Center lobby.
- CityLink expanded its online presence by joining the social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
- CityLink eliminated several bus pass options and made changes to its bus fare system. The biggest of these changes was the elimination of the transfer. Passengers now pay a fare for each ride. Seniors aged 65 and older also pay $0.50 per ride.
- CityLink received two 40-foot, New Flyer Xcelsior® diesel-electric hybrid buses. Diesel-electric hybrid buses reduce emissions by up to 90% when compared to conventional diesel-fueled buses and reduce vehicle noise throughout their entire operating range.
- CityLink route and schedule information became available in Google Maps in late 2016.
- GPMTD welcomed Doug Roelfs as General Manager.
- CityLink received two additional 40-foot New Flyer Xcelsior® diesel-electric hybrid buses. The new buses are identical to the hybrid buses CityLink received in late 2016.
- GPMTD received thirty-two new paratransit vehicles. Thirty-one of these vehicles are being used by the District’s demand response paratransit service (CityLift), and one of the vehicles is being used by the CityLink Operations Department as a supervisor vehicle.
- CityLink donated a 35-foot Gillig diesel bus to the Diesel Powered Equipment Technology (DPET) program at Illinois Central College for educational purposes.
- New bus camera surveillance equipment was installed to update the camera surveillance system to high definition cameras for increased passenger and operator safety.
- Received three sets of new mobile bus lifts that allows maintenance staff to raise buses inside or outside of the garage to facilitate repairs underneath the vehicles.
- Launched a newly redesigned website with a modern, user-friendly and innovative design that features a trip planner on the homepage that utilizes Google Maps.
- GPMTD welcomed Nick Standefer as Assistant General Manager of Maintenance.
- CityLink buses began picking-up and dropping-off passengers only at signed bus stop locations, designated CityLink benches and shelters. This change was an effort to improve passenger safety and the overall customer satisfaction of bus service.
- CityLink participated in a study of downstate transportation operations completed by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. Upon completion of the study, CityLink received praise for Municipal Excellence in transit planning.
- GPMTD received a $2.3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program.
- CityLink used these funds to purchase two battery-electric buses and accompanying charging infrastructure.
- GPMTD contracted with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting to complete a Comprehensive Operational Analysis transit study, called CityLink on the Move. The outcome of this study offered a five-year service improvement plan that GPMTD is using toevaluate future route and service changes.
- GPMTD celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2020 with a video series featuring information on the transportation services it provides and important milestones in its history.
- Interior remodel project was completed at the Transit Center.
- Completed the renovation of the bus wash located in the CityLink Maintenance garage.
- Received two CountyLink replacement vehicles that were purchased through the State of Illinois Consolidated Vehicle Procurement (CVP) Program.
- The CityLink Transit Center roof was selected by the Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA) Program for the 2020-2021 program year in the Non-Profit/Public Facilities sub-program.
- Installed driver barriers on all fixed route buses to provide added safety for bus operators.
- GPMTD entered a partnership with Transdev for the management and operations of its CityLift paratransit service and CountyLink rural transportation service effective December 1, 2020.
- Welcomed three new board members:
- Chris Ahart, Representing the Village of Peoria Heights
- Jeff Hoerr, Representing the City of Peoria
- Patti Sterling Polk, Representing the City of Peoria
- Received three new 35-foot Proterra battery-electric buses and the charging infrastructure.
- Implementation and launch of ITS Solutions
- Including: Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Software; Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) Software; and Automatic Passenger Counters (APC) Software
- CityLink route and real-time bus tracking information is now available in the myStop® Mobile for Apple or Android devices.
- Collision Avoidance System installed on buses, which has similar features to the collision avoidance systems found in many contemporary motor vehicles.
- Completion of the Microtransit Study – The study is intended to determine how on-demand micro-transit solutions could be used to improve first mile, last mile mobility and fixed route transit ridership within the urbanized areas.
- Welcome one new board member:
- Don Knox, Representing the City of Peoria
- Implemented route/schedule improvements to the fixed route service in March 2022 as a result of the CityLink on the Move transit study.
- Improved route changes included:
- Faster, more direct service
- Better access to grocery stores and employment centers
- More service in high-ridership neighborhoods
- Improved route changes included:
- Groundbreaking for new Maintenance & Operations Facilities Rebuild/Renovation Project in May 2022. Project phases:
- Phase A – Rear Building (Paint and Body Shop)
- Completion Expected April 19, 2022 (Substantial completion)
- Phase B – Admin/Maintenance Shop & Visitor Parking
- Demo of 1978 Building occurred in April/May of 2022
- 1 year for site & building construction phase – May/June of 2023
- Phase C – South Storage Building Renovation
- Final Completion Expected December 2023
- Phase D – Annex
- Final Completion for all phases is expected December 2023
- Phase A – Rear Building (Paint and Body Shop)
- Canopy roof of the Transit Center was replaced and the solar panel installation from the Illinois Solar for All (ILSFA) Program was completed.
- Hosted inaugural WOW! ADA Celebration & Resource Fair at the Peoria Civic Center on July 26, 2022 to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and offer valuable resources to the local ADA community.
- Partnered with the Peoria Public Library, Fondulac District Library and Pekin Public Library to offer free rides on CityLink fixed route buses for library card holders the month of September.
The Future –
- Transit Center site improvements, including new curbing, etching, furniture upgrades, and outdoor kiosks.
- New camera system for the paratransit (CityLift and CountyLink) vehicles.
- Driver simulators to improve operator training.
- Continual updating of routes and service is a top priority to make CityLink synonymous with meeting regional bus transportation needs.