Officials broke ground Monday on the new transit hub planned near the Wilmington train station.
The Wilmington Transit Center will feature indoor seating, bathrooms, WIFI, USB charging stations, real-time bus displays, ticket sales and vending machines. It will also offer bike racks, a garage with electric car charging stations and over 200 parking spaces.
Officials say with capacity for up to ten buses to stage at once, the new transit center will allow for bus layovers without blocking city streets.
Construction is expected to be finished in December of next year. Delaware Transit Corporation officials told Delaware Public Media in August it could be finished by summer 2019.
DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan calls the hub a “game-changer” for Wilmington.
“We’re going to be able to expand service, I’m super excited. We’ve got electric buses coming,” she said.
Gov. John Carney praised the planned hub’s location near the train and Greyhound stations.
“Because it works in conjunction with Septa, with Amtrak, with the inter-state bus service across the way,” he said. “Not too far from the Jack A. Markell bike trail. It all fits together.”
Tizzy Lockman is the state senator-elect for the district where the hub will be built. At a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, she talked about her experience relying on public transportation.
“The news of the groundbreaking, the news of this new hub has come as welcome news to the residents but also to the bus-riding community,” said Lockman.
If completed on schedule, the hub will open about two years after DART dismantled a bus hub on Rodney Square. That move has drawn criticism from transit advocates for its impact on riders and how the state arrived at its decision.
Delaware Transit Corporation Director John Sisson told Delaware Public Media in August that the new hub will result in only slight modifications to existing bus routes, as roughly 75 percent of bus routes in the Wilmington already serve the train station area.
Sisson said at the time that planners were considering having shuttles replace some bus service within the city.
The $10 million transit center project is a public-private partnership, with funding from DART, Colonial Parking, EDiS Company and Emory Hill Real Estate Services, Inc.
Officials say the project is not receiving any federal funding.