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Waynesboro still short on bus riders

September 02, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Ridership on Waynesboro's public bus service held steady at eight passengers an hour during June and July, but that's still two shy of what Pennsylvania says it needs to keep subsidizing the service beyond the end of the year.

The bus service, Waynesboro's first in years, started a year ago at the request of local senior citizen groups who lobbied hard for it. More than 500 seniors signed cards saying they would ride the bus if it came to town.

The Chambersburg Transit Authority, which runs public buses in that borough, provides the bus for Waynesboro. It started with an 18-stop, 30-mile run from Zullinger to Rouzerville, but has since cut back.

The Waynesboro Borough Council and Washington Township Supervisors each put in about $4,000 as their contribution to the $114,000 needed to run the bus each year. PennDot's subsidy comes to $79,000. The rest is supposed to come from fares and advertising panels on the bus.

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Lloyd Hamberger, borough manager for Waynesboro, and Michael Christopher, administrator for Washington Township, will meet Thursday with Chambersburg Transit Authority officials to try to come up with some ideas to increase ridership, Hamberger said.

There are many options, including cutting costs by using a smaller bus, as well as route and schedule changes, Hamberger said. "Our goal is to keep it going," he said.

Quinter Baumgardner, a Washington Township supervisor, has suggested that the bus start its run an hour earlier in the morning at 7, Christopher said. Baumgardner believes some residents would take the bus to work. High School students could ride if it ran earlier in the day.

"People need to ride the bus more," Christopher said. "I'm at a loss why more folks don't ride it, especially since seniors can ride it for free."

PennDot has already extended its deadline once. Originally the agency said the bus service would have to prove itself by June 1. Now it's saying it will go to Dec. 31.

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