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Munson says he spoke too soon on bus service

October 01, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Commissioner John C. Munson said Tuesday he spoke too quickly when he said last week that the County Commuter bus system was underused and should be shut down.

"I opened my mouth too soon about these buses," Munson said Tuesday during a County Commissioners meeting at the Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Co. Social Hall.

Now, Munson said, he thinks the commissioners should consider whether the buses being used by County Commuter are too big or whether smaller buses should be used.

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He said if County Commuter buses were smaller, the service could extend its routes to areas all over the county, rather than being limited to areas that have more bus riders.

"Most of the people in the county have no access to the County Commuter," Munson said. "I think if we have a lot smaller buses, we could branch out more."

"The majority of taxpayers are paying the bill, and they can't ride the buses," Munson said.

None of the commissioners responded to Munson's comments Tuesday.

He said he would like the business community to be in charge of studying whether smaller buses would be feasible in Washington County.

Last week, Munson said not enough people rode the County Commuter to justify the service remaining in business. He said the county could save local, state and federal dollars if the service were shut down.

The county's annual contribution to the Public Transportation Department this fiscal year was $415,330. The department has a total budget of $1.7 million.

County Director of Public Transportation Kevin Cerrone said last week that ridership of the County Commuter was about 300,000 a year.

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