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New buses and revamped routes part of CTA growth

February 20, 2000

PTA's new busesBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - There's a subtle difference between the old and new logos for the Chambersburg Transit Authority: The new one depicts people riding in the trolley.

Putting more people in the seats is the point behind a revamped schedule, new buses and future changes for the authority, which serves the Chambersburg and Waynesboro areas, according to Director Eva Verdier.

Last week the authority received three new $55,000, 18-passenger buses that are handicapped accessible, Verdier said. On Monday, expanded Red and Green Route service in the Chambersburg area began, she said.

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"The old routes had a lot of overlapping. There were 20 transfer points," Verdier said Thursday. The Red Route had 45 stops and the Green 41, with each taking an hour and 17 minutes to complete.

The old routes remained unchanged for years while retailers, grocery stores and human service agencies left the downtown, she said. The routes were revamped to meet the demands of the riders, Verdier said.

The Red Route now has a west loop with 19 stops and a south loop with 15 stops. There are 23 stops on the east loop of the Green Route and another 18 on its north loop.

Each loop takes 55 minutes to complete with a five minute layover at United Towers on North Main Street, so each route takes two hours to complete, Verdier said. There is, however, just one transfer point, and transfer fees on the Green and Red Routes have been eliminated.

A one-way trip is $1 for most riders, but there are reduced fares for children and free rides for senior citizens and very young children, she said.

Within the year, Verdier said the addition of two larger buses will mean there will be a bus for each loop.

"On every loop you can reach a major shopping center and a major food center," Verdier said. Riders now have access to seven shopping centers, nine grocery stores, five entertainment centers and four educational facilities.

The system is open to everyone, but particular attention is paid to the elderly and low-income riders. Routes can take people to and from 24 social service agencies, five assisted-living centers, six nursing homes, five income-based housing developments and four mobile home parks, Verdier said.

"We've tried to make this user friendly," Verdier said. That includes multi-ride and monthly tickets that can be purchased from drivers beginning next week.

The Shoppers Express Route started last year is back, taking riders to Wal-Mart, Chambersburg Mall and the Luther Ridge Retirement Village on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There is also the Saturday Yellow Route serving 25 stops, mostly in Greene Township, she said.

The authority also operates the Blue Route serving Waynesboro and Washington Township six days a week, Verdier said.

The Chambersburg Transit Authority has come a long way since 1991, when a 9-year-old bus ran one route with 10 stops. Verdier said the system carried 13,000 passengers that year on an operating budget of $126,000.

The 1999-2000 budget is $325,000, and ridership has more than quadrupled to 53,000, Verdier said. Trolleys ran 151,000 miles last year.

Verdier said her goal is to raise ridership 20 percent by the end of the budget year, or June 30.

The three buses the authority received last week were paid for with money left over from a 1994 federal grant, state grants and local matching funds. Verdier said a new $1.3 million federal grant will pay $350,000 to help purchase the two new buses with the rest going to new garages and offices for the authority.

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