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A Brief History of Greater Peoria Mass Transit District

1970 – 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.) The first year GPMTD provided 667,142 passenger rides.

1980 – GPMTD began providing “park & ride” shuttles to ease parking congestion in downtown Peoria for community events at the Peoria Civic Center.

1990 – The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was passed by Congress. GPMTD began to provide door to door transportation for passengers with disabilities.

1991  The ethanol project was underway. The Greater Peoria community was the first transit system in the country to run ethanol-fueled buses in its fleet. This was also the year that the trolleybuses arrived. The trolleybus is a replica of the old trolley coaches that was used on the streets of Peoria.

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 a modern maroon & gray with gold stripping.

2002 – Night service was added to the schedule (giving service to passengers from 6:00 A.M. to 1:00 A.M. on designated routes) which enabled night workers and travelers to have extended transportation opportunities.

2003 – A modern off-street transit center located in the 400 block of SW Adams was completed. The Transit Center includes a covered canopy with eighteen bays. This allows easier access to location of specific routes for the passengers. Inside the climate controlled center, public restrooms, comfortable seats and vending machines are provided. As a convenience payments can be made at the information desk to AmerenCilco, Illinois American Water Company. In addition, YWCA partnered with CityLink by opening a day care center in the same block. The arrangement is one of the first in the nation to provide this combination of childcare and transportation. This allows parents to leave their children with child-care providers, board the bus for the transportation to their chosen jobs, and return after work to pick up their children. The current occupant of the day care center is Myah’s Just 4 Kids Learning Center.

2005 – New buses were added to the fleet to replace older buses; seven were forty-foot low floors, which 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 at the Illinois River. • Security cameras were added to the interiors of the buses to aid with the safety of passengers and CityLink employees.

2008 – Seniors 65 or older were granted free transportation on all CityLink buses as a mandate from the state of Illinois.

2009 – There was a record-breaking 3,026,541 passenger rides provided during the 2009 fiscal year.

2009 – CityLink received funding from the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA) stimulus dollars to purchase new CityLift paratransit vans. With this money and money from IDOT, 31 Turtletop® vans were ordered and delivered in 2010.

2010 – Twenty-one 32’ low-floor transit coaches were ordered.

2011 – Two hybrid paratransit vehicles were added to the fleet. • Twenty six 35’ low-floor transit coaches were
delivered and 20 more were ordered.

2012 -
  • 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.
  • CityLink launched a mobile website for the convenience of passengers, putting schedule and route information at their fingertips.
2014 -
  • 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, 2014, 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.  Since the inception of this service, the average ridership on Sundays has consistently remained at just under 3,000 rides each week.
  • 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.
2015 -
  • TranSystems presented the final results of the Northside Transfer Zone study, including information on the preferred site selected, which is a former CEFCU facility located at 4310 N. Brandywine Drive.  The 1.2 acre site could accommodate a passenger facility as well as 8 bus bays.
  • The installation of new solar powered bus shelters was initiated.  The project calls for the installation of up to 50 new bus shelters, with 15 being installed in 2015.  The shelters have solar power LED lighting which provides added safety and security for passengers, and allows better visibility for CityLink operators.
  • CityLink renewed its contract with MV Transportation to offer paratransit service. In addition, due to a change in the urbanized area, CityLink entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Peoria County to oversee rural transportation service provider, CountyLink.  The addition of AVL technology and new routing software has provided better data and revenue tracking, and improved customer service.
  • 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.
  • CityLink introduced two new bus fare options for passengers. The $3 Day Pass provides unlimited rides for one service day.  The $40 30-Day Pass offers unlimited rides for 30 consecutive service days and can be activated for the first time at any time during a month.  Both of the passes were implemented to provide affordable and convenient pass options for frequent CityLink bus riders.
  • A Genfare self-service ticket vending machine was installed in the Transit Center lobby.  It provides convenience and flexibility for passengers who wish to buy bus tickets in advance.  The vending machine currently accepts cash (bills and coins), and it has the capability to accept credit or debit cards in the future.  It issues the $3 Day Pass and the $40 30-Day Pass.
  • CityLink expanded its online presence by joining the social media sites Facebook ( and Twitter (
2016 – 
  • 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.  Customers now pay a fare for each ride.  Seniors also pay $0.50 per ride all day.
  • CityLink became an inaugural member of the B20 Club, a joint venture between the Illinois Soybean Association and the American Lung Association in Illinois.
  • Continued the installation program of new solar powered bus shelters.  Thirty-eight new shelters were installed in 2016, including a new shelter outside the CityLink Administrative office, located at 2105 NE Jefferson Avenue.
  • CityLink partnered with the Peoria Chiefs to offer a $3 discount for Chiefs tickets on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday game days all season long.  CityLink customers with a valid $3 Day Pass dated for the day of the game could present their Day Pass at the Peoria Chiefs box office at Dozer Park to receive $3 off of their ticket for that day's game.
  • GPMTD received a Paratransit Vehicles Grant from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) through the Buses and Bus Facilities Grants Program – 5339.  The amount awarded from the FTA is $1,421,467, which will pay 85% of the total cost for GPMTD to replace its current fleet of aging paratransit (CityLift) vehicles.
  • In September 2016, CityLink extended service north of Route 6 on the #4 Knoxville route to serve several businesses in that area.
  • CityLink received two 40-foot, New Flyer 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.  They use a smaller Cummins engine that is certified for mass transportation use, and an Allison hybrid propulsion system.

2017 –

  • CityLink partnered with the Peoria Chiefs to offer a discount for Chiefs tickets on Monday through Thursday game days all season long.  CityLink passengers that presented a bus pass at the box office at Dozer Park  were able to receive up to 4 tickets at $5 each all season long.
  • CityLink received two additional 40’ New Flyer Xcelsior® diesel-electric hybrid buses.  The new buses are identical to the hybrid buses CityLink received in late 2016.  The new hybrid buses arrived with bicycle racks affixed to the front of each bus, and the racks have the capacity to hold up to three bicycles at one time as opposed to the standard two-slot bicycle racks.
  • GPMTD received twenty-six new paratransit (CityLift) vehicles.  They are Ford E450 Body-on-Chassis with a Champion Challenger body and have the capacity to accommodate up to 14 passengers and numerous wheelchairs.  The vehicles have a specially designed roof to increase passenger safety and the latest enhancements in seatbelt and wheelchair securements.
  • Continued the installation program of new solar powered bus shelters.  Twenty-one new shelters were installed in 2017.
  • GPMTD welcomed Doug Roelfs as General Manager and Jennifer Lee to the Board of Trustees.

The Future

  • The addition of a Northside Transfer Zone will increase access to public transit and improve efficiencies in routes and schedules.
  • New bus camera surveillance equipment will be installed to update the current camera surveillance system to high definition cameras for increased passenger and operator safety.
  • Plans to implement new technology on the buses including:
    • Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Software – provides the customer with real-time information on the location of vehicles so they will be able to see when they will be arriving at their intended stop;
    • Automatic Voice Annunciation (AVA) Software – verbally and digitally announces the next stop and offers a rolling digital sign telling the upcoming stop;
    • Automatic Passenger Counters (APC) Software – has the ability to improve the accuracy and reliability of tracking transit ridership.
  • Plans for remodeling at the Transit Center, including painting, new flooring, and the installation of new digital signage in the lobby area.
  • Continual updating of routes and service is a top priority to make CityLink synonymous with meeting regional bus transportation needs.

2105 NE Jefferson Ave    •    Peoria, Illinois 61603    •    309-676-4040

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