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Waynesboro bus service to continue

April 27, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - After more than a year and a half of struggling with low ridership, it appears that Waynesboro's bus service is here to stay.

Eva Verdier, interim director of the Chambersburg Transit Authority, said Tuesday that the Chambersburg Borough Council is expected to bring the Waynesboro system into the transit authority as soon as today.

Waynesboro and Washington Township officials have already approved the change, she said.

The move will end Waynesboro's duties as the official contractor with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

"It will save some headaches," said Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger II.

The borough had to make sure that PennDot's subsidy of the system was transferred to the transit authority, he said.

PennDot began the Waynesboro service in September 1997 as a demonstration program with a first-year subsidy of $78,000.

It was launched after heavy lobbying by both of Waynesboro's AARP chapters. The bus serves primarily senior citizens in the Borough of Waynesboro and Washington Township. Those over 60 ride free, those under 60 pay $1.

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The problem at first was that not enough seniors rode the bus. Some months ridership was below five people an hour.

PennDot officials insisted from the beginning that the system needed at least 10 riders an hour if it was to survive. The agency extended its subsidy to keep the system running. The last extension ends June 30.

A federal subsidy is expected to take over on July 1.

Even with the federal subsidy, Waynesboro and Washington Township will have to continue their subsidies of about $4,400 a year each, Hamberger said.

The rest of the system's cost is covered by fares and advertising on the bus. Verdier said the 10-rider goal was reached in March and most likely will be reached again this month.

The service was streamlined and stops deemed unnecessary were dropped from the original routes. It now covers 15 miles and makes 21 stops from Rouzerville to Zullinger.

Ruth Davis of North Avenue in Waynesboro, who rides the bus almost daily with her husband, Stanley, said she is delighted the service will continue.

The couple does not own a car. They ride the bus to the YMCA, grocery store, video store, senior center and to go out to eat occasionally, Ruth Davis said.

She said that they sometimes ride buses and vans provided by the Franklin County Area Agency on Aging, but find its service limited. "You have to give them notice. We can ride the bus anytime," she said.

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