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LANTA's new Musikfest bus route offers 'free and worry-free travel'

Musikfest Crowd
Jason Addy
Musikfest will make its annual return to Bethlehem starting Aug. 2, accompanied by a new form of transportation.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Pulling up to a stop near you is a new and free way to travel during Musikfest.

Citing a need for better infrastructure during the multi-day, free music event, there will be a new LANTA bus route to transport festival-goers to the north and south sides.

LANTA's Enhanced Bus Line's Gold, Lines will make it first stops beginning on Friday, Aug. 2.

The buses will run from 6 a.m. to 1:40 a.m. Monday through Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 9:40 p.m. on Sundays.

The bus line is a partnership between LANTA, ArtsQuest, the Greater Lehigh Valley of Commerce, Historic Bethlehem, the SouthSide Arts District and Bethlehem Parking Authority.

Limit the amount of cars on the road

Unveiling of LANTA's new bus routes was made during a press conference held Wednesday at City Hall.

Bethlehem Mayor J. Willie Reynolds stressed how the routes will help improve traffic and congestion, a concern during Musikfest — notably on Stekfo Avenue and Broad Street and on the Fahy Bridge and W. Broad Street.

In 2023, it is estimated that 1.3 million people attended the 11-day event, which starts on Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 11.

"We always understand that [vehicles] is one way that people get around," Reynolds said.

"But we also need to be able to do everything we can to make these investments. And there's no better symbol of what can happen when you take cars off the road than Musikfest.

"We don't talk about this, but the biggest kind of argument or idea we can talk about, as far as why we want to increase bikeability and walkability, is just the energy of what your downtowns are for your businesses and everything else when you're able to limit how many cars you have on the road and this is a huge part of that."

'Designed to connect all of us'

LANTA's new routes are known as a bus rapid transit system (BRT), or enhanced bus service (EBS), and provides passengers will express service throughout the region.

The Gold line, which connects the north and south side, will operate fare free when boarding at any of the 14 shuttle stops.

It joins LANTA's Blue line that will run from Trexlertown to Easton with stops in Allentown, and the Green Line, which will run from Whitehall to Wind Creek Casino.

"These routes are designed to connect all of us, including the Lehigh Valley's many visitors and guests, to events like Musikfest. It's only fitting that we're adopting these routes as part of our official music festival system," AJ Jordan, LANTA's director of planning and scheduling said.

"You can be in Allentown and come to the festival. You can be in Easton and get to the festival. You can use one of the many Bethlehem parking garages, not have to get back in your car again for the entire day."
Kassie Hilgert, ArtsQuest CEO

"The Gold Line connects all of the EV's stops to shuttle plots north and shuttle plots to the south," Jordan said. "The two transportation centers during Musikfest we're familiar with, as well as some additional stops and between.

The Gold Line also connects to all of Bethlehem Parking Authority's many garages, including the new Polk street garage and South Side. So we're really excited to be able to partner to provide access to all of those facilities."

LANTA's EV buses are air-conditioned and ADA wheelchair accessible.

"Real time bus tracking will also be available for all these buses, allowing guests to find the best options to get to all the stages and events using a mobile phone and you can scan the QR code on this map and that shuttle stops for guests on the scene to find where the next bus is and what the best option is," Jordan said.

Three bus lines, operated by LANTA, make traveling to MusikFest easier and affordable.

"Lastly, the Purple Line, also known as the North South Transfer, is a shuttle service that we're very familiar with and that will continue to offer premium express service from shuttle plots north to shuttle plots south, giving attendees in a rush an option to pay for an even faster connection across the river. Purple Line service also operates to remote parking areas operated by ArtsQuest."

Perfect for locals

The new bus routes offer worry-free travel and exposure for small businesses.

"You can be in Allentown and come to the festival. You can be in Easton and get to the festival. You can use one of the many Bethlehem parking garages, not have to get back in your car again for the entire day. It will drop you off right at our newest stops, so you don't have to walk up that lovely hill unless you want to walk off your Aw Shucks!, which is perfectly understandable," ArtsQuest CEO Kassie Hilgert said.

"Not only are we going to benefit by getting visitors here and moving around, it's getting them around to the businesses too, in the SouthSide Arts District and in the Historic Moravian district. So whether you leave your car at home where you decide to come down here and use one of the parking garages, I hope you see what we always talk about, which is we need to build a city within a city at Musikfest."

In addition to the bus routes, parking and unlimited bus rides are available.

Here are the shuttle and parking fares:

BPA Parking Garages: $15 per vehicle. Price includes unlimited rides on Blue, Green and Gold Line shuttles (operated by LANTA).

Remote Parking Lots: $9 per Adult (13+), $7 per Child (3-12), free for children under 2. Price includes shuttle service to the festival and unlimited rides on the Purple Line North-South Transfer.

Additional Shuttle Passes: Unlimited Ride Day Passes for Blue, Green and Gold Line shuttle, $4 cash or Mobile Ticket, free for children under 5; Unlimited Ride Day Passes for Purple North-South Transfer, $6 per adult (13+) or $4 per child (3-12), free for children under 2.