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The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District provides public transportation to the cities of Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and the University of Illinois campus.
The privately-owned City Lines bus company in Champaign-Urbana operated until the early 1970s. As was common throughout the country at that time, falling ridership’s fares could no longer finance the services and, one after another, private companies went out of business. When nearby community systems failed in the early 1970s, Champaign-Urbana’s local government took over public transportation service. Local taxes and fares had to cover expenses and in 1971 residents passed a referendum approving local tax levies and the formation of the District. The Downstate Public Transit Act passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 1974 assured State funding assistance to transit systems in Illinois outside the city of Chicago who qualify for this funding by collecting local taxes. The first Board of Trustees of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District was appointed Tuesday, December 15, 1970. The Board’s first meeting was held December 18, 1970, and operations began August 2, 1971. The fare was 30¢ and transfers were (and still are) free. The District leased buses and property at 501 N. Fifth Street from City Lines. It was announced May 13, 1971 that a federal grant of $260,608 was approved and a promise of an additional $86,869 for the purchase of fifteen new buses. Ten used buses were purchased from Peoria.
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