STARS to create new loop route during Memorial Cup

Saginaw's transit system scored a goal for next year's Memorial Cup, which is expected to bring thousands of hockey fans downtown.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:50 PM EST
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Saginaw’s transit system scored a goal for next year’s Memorial Cup, which is expected to bring thousands of hockey fans downtown.

The Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) bus system has a plan in place to provide free and convenient rides for people in downtown Saginaw during the Memorial Cup event next May.

The Downtown Development Authority provided $27,000 for STARS to create a loop route from the Dow Event Center through downtown Saginaw.

“We want to make sure that our own residents, who, this is happening in our own backyards here in Saginaw, get to participate,” said Glen Steffens, the executive director of STARS. “With a bus going by Dow by the game and everything into old town, up Washington as well. So, doing a loop: Washington, Michigan, and then the Dow.”

Steffens said the event is a prime opportunity to bring in revenue for the city.

Under the plan, the system would operate its regular routes and the new loop, and both would run later than normal. That has the potential to help businesses’ bottom lines.

“We want to support our local businesses and get them as many customers walking in the door as possible,” Steffens said.

While the downtown loop is a definite thing ready to go, there are talks with other municipalities to see if similar plans can be made in close neighboring areas.

However, that also depends on funding.

“To open up the regular bus routes just for our area is going to be about $50,000 of revenue. So, we’re trying to locate how much of that can we have other stakeholders in the community help us with,” Steffens said. “We survive on a city millage here at STARS, and so I don’t think that would be fair to use our city millage dollars specifically to work on transportation projects coming from other areas.”

On Wednesday, Steffens was in California preparing to upgrade the fleet with nine new buses to come back to Saginaw.

“We still have 16 left to purchase under the contract and we’re already working on trying to find funding for those to replace the entire fleet,” Steffens said.

He said getting new buses will ultimately save the city money as the majority of the current fleet is 15 to 20 years old.

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