The Regional Transport Authority is considering starting a new express route early next year that could reduce the travel time from Robstown and Calallen to downtown Corpus Christi.

The proposed express route, entitled "Route 27x," is one of 13 proposed changes to the RTA service in the Coastal Bend.

On Nov. 4, the RTA held a public hearing in the Robstown City Council chambers to discuss the proposed changes with the public.

Oscar Vargas, Manager of Planning and Development with the RTA, said the proposed express route would start at Robstown, stop at Calallen and continue to downtown Corpus Christi using Interstate Highway 37.

"We've had requests for this type of service," Vargas said. "The local buses, during our peak hours, are overloading."

The RTA currently provides service from Robstown and Calallen to downtown Corpus Christi, but that service travels on Leopard Street and makes multiple stops. The new service would begin at the bus stop at the intersection of Avenue A and Fourth Street in Robstown, would stop once at the Calallen Wal-Mart bus stop and would travel on Interstate Highway 37 to downtown Corpus Christi, ending at the Staples Street Station.

Under the current proposal, there would be three express trips in the morning and three express trips in the evening. The limited number of stops is expected to reduce the trip time from one hour to 40 minutes, Vargas said.

"This is an express service that will make limited stops," Vargas said. "It's going to improve the service we offer now."

The RTA is conducting surveys of riders and public hearing to receive input on the proposed route, Vargas said. Once that information is collected, a recommendation will be made to the RTA Board of Directors. If the board approves the new route, express service could begin in May 2009, Vargas said.

In addition to the public hearings, organizations or other groups may contact the RTA to request a presentation on the proposed routes. Those organizations, or residents who wish to leave input with the RTA on the proposed route, are asked to call 883-2287.