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Bus line's survival in jeopardy

June 20, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Use it or lose it.

Riders on Chambersburg Transit Authority buses that roll through Waynesboro and Washington Township every day have three months to increase their ridership numbers or see the service disappear from the communities, the authority's executive director said Wednesday.

Speaking before the Waynesboro Borough Council and about 20 residents, mostly seniors, Eva McKula said CTA officials have decided that ridership on the two local runs has to increase by 20 percent or the buses will be pulled back to Chambersburg.

"If we don't do it, the service will definitely have to go," McKula said. "This is the last shot."

Waynesboro is a co-partner with the township in the venture, said Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger. "If ridership doesn't go up we'll have to pull the plug," he said.

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CTA has been providing subsidized public transportation by bus in the Waynesboro area since September 1997. The service has been struggling for survival ever since because too few people ride the buses. Ridership has been averaging about six passengers per hour. More than half the riders are seniors.

The governments of Waynesboro and Washington Township have been paying $3,500 a year into the service as a local subsidy. McKula raised the amount to $5,440 a year, or 32 percent of CTA's annual operating budget of $194,000.

News that the service was in jeopardy did not sit well with the audience, many of whom said they depend on the buses to get around.

Seniors with identification ride the bus for free. Others pay $1 for one-way rides. Identification cards can be obtained at the Waynesboro Borough Office, Washington Township Office or the Waynesboro Senior Center on South Potomac Street, McKula said.

CTA has revised the Waynesboro-area routes by adding a second bus, a move that cuts the time passengers have to ride to their destinations and back. The number of stops has been revised and new stops have been added. All runs begin and end at the senior center and all go to both area malls and area medical services.

Peggy Gillespie, an Anthony Avenue resident, said she doesn't drive and depends on the bus to get around.

"I ride it every day to Wayne Heights Mall, to Kmart and to Waynesboro Mall. I don't want to lose the bus," she said.

David Hockenberry of Waynesboro said he needs the bus to get home every day from his job at a local restaurant.

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