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Authority to cut some Chambersburg bus service

June 15, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Weekend service by the Chambersburg Transit Authority will be scaled down in the near future, eliminating a number of Chambersburg area stops, according to Executive Director Eva Verdier.

"On July 1 all routes on Sunday will begin at noon because of lower ridership," Verdier said Wednesday after meeting with the Chambersburg Borough Council.

Weekday service will be unchanged, but weekend stops for some human service agencies and businesses will likely be eliminated because they are closed Saturdays and Sundays, she said.

The revamped schedule will increase the system's efficiency, she said.

An increase of 75 percent in the borough's local match for the Transit Authority was approved Wednesday by the Borough Council, an increase of about $8,000 for the budget year beginning July 1.

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The borough's share will be $20,717, out of a total budget of $460,000. Chambersburg routes account for 56 percent of the service provided by the authority, in terms of total miles and operating time, according to Verdier.

The Authority also serves Greene and Guilford townships and Waynesboro and Washington Township in the southern part of Franklin County, she said. Those municipalities are being asked to provide about $16,000 for next year.

The local matches are a small percentage of the total budget. Fares, advertising, the Pennsylvania Lottery and other reimbursements account for $138,540 of the budget, with state and federal subsidies contributing about $284,000, according to the budget.

Next year's budget is $124,642 higher than this year, with most of the additional funding coming from state and federal sources, Verdier said. The increase in subsidies means local matches must also increase, she said.

Some council members questioned the size of the increase. "I don't want to see us locked into escalating costs every year," Council President Bernard Washabaugh said.

Verdier said the authority expanded its Chambersburg routes this year, accounting for the increased subsidies and the higher local match.

"There was a lot of catch up to do ... because of deferred maintenance in the past" Councilman William McLaughlin said of increased operating costs. He said the authority has spent more to keep buses on the road, and wages increase $1 an hour to $8.15 to reduce driver turnover.

Over the next three years, Verdier said the system will buy three more buses and build a new facility. Both will be paid for by $1.3 million federal subsidy and $312,000 from the state, requiring a local match of $10,755.

Verdier said additional buses will mean the Red and Green routes in Chambersburg will be split into four loops, cutting the time for each circuit in half to about an hour. Verdier hopes the shorter routes will increase ridership in the Chambersburg area.

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