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      Copper Country public transit upgrades on the way

      Students from Michigan Tech's Transportation Enterprise are planning on implementing some new changes for the cities of Houghton and Hancock.

      The students say their goal is to increase the use, efficiency, and sustainability of both transit systems.

      "It's a grant from Ford. It's called the College Community Challenge and it's a $50,000 grant. That amount is going towards bus shelters, bus countdown timers, GPS units, possibly a new bus, and bus wraps,â?? said project manager for Transportation Enterprise Adam Wenneman.

      They recently held a public forum to find out from residents some of their likes and dislikes of the current system. Many seniors say they like the mode of transportation because it takes them where they need to go, and others say they would like the Hancock Transit to offer extended hours and operate on weekends.

      Another goal of the project is to increase ridership among students.

      "One of our biggest issues has been trying to market to the Michigan Tech students and let them know what services that we offer," said Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes.

      Houghton has busses that run throughout the city. The Downtowner stops in 12 different locations and the others are on a demand service.

      Hancock runs on a demand-only service, and people must call the public transit line to receive a ride.

      "We're waiting for the students to make some suggestions. They have all of our data, so part of their study is to look at ways that they can suggest to us to be more efficient," said Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson.

      This is a two-year project, and students from the Transportation Enterprise will take all of the information they have gathered and use it to create models and plan alternate routes for both transit systems.

      If youâ??re interested in voicing your concerns or comments about the current transit system, you can e-mail them .