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Waynesboro riders help boost bus numbers

December 16, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Ridership is still far below what it was a year ago, but the addition of service to Waynesboro, Pa., in November boosted ridership for the Chambersburg Transit Authority above 1,000 for the first time in months.

The system had 1,104 riders in November, down from 5,076 in November 2002 when the authority was still operating seven routes, according to Office Administrator Deb Rotz. More than 300 of those trips last month were made by Waynesboro-area passengers.

"We were averaging 45 passengers a day in seven days of service" in Waynesboro last month, Rotz said at Monday's meeting of the authority's board of directors. Waynesboro and Washington Township have bus service on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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The financially-strapped authority reduced the number of routes from seven to one serving just Chambersburg in March and service there was reduced from five days a week to Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. Rotz said in October ridership had dipped below 400.

Chambersburg ridership for November was 465 and another 327 rides were provided through contracted services with Franklin County Mental Health/Mental Retardation, Occupational Services Inc. and an after-school program for the children of migrant workers.

President James Jenkins said a five-year recovery plan for the system is expected to be approved by Pennsylvania and federal transportation officials by the end of this week. Jenkins did not have a copy of the plan, but said transportation officials will ask the board to hire a full-time administrator, obtain an independent consultant and follow approved procurement policies for capital equipment.

The plan would also outline how the authority would repay its creditors over the five-year period.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has also proposed a $246,000 operating budget for the authority for the 2003-04 budget year, which ends June 30, 2004. Jenkins did not have a copy of the budget at the meeting, but said about 65 to 70 percent is made up of state and federal subsidies.

The balance is supposed to come from local matches, including money or in-kind services from the municipalities served by the system.

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