Public Square survey looks at public bus use

July 18, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

People who responded to a survey in downtown Hagerstown said they use public transportation regularly - and they would like a place to sit and wait for buses.

In an unscientific survey in May of 37 people planning to ride a Washington County Commuter bus, 76 percent said they use the bus stop near Public Square at least three times a week.

Thirty-four percent said they were riding the bus to go shopping, the most popular use mentioned.

Asked if they still would use County Commuter if the bus stop on West Washington Street were moved, 70 percent said they would because that's their regular transportation, and 22 percent said it depended on the new site.

The study was done by Michael Parsons' sociology class at Hagerstown Community College during a two-hour period on May 29.

Students talked to 50 people in Public Square, including 13 who were not there to ride a bus.


Among the comments and suggestions from respondents were:

? Increase the number of buses to Prime Outlets.

? Run buses later in the evening, especially to HCC.

? Increase security.

? Bus drivers are friendly.

Cindy Blackstock, the City of Hagerstown's community development coordinator, helped set up the survey to look at public transportation and people congregating in Public Square.

She said the class' work was a good example of community relationships, and the city might call upon students for future projects.

In recent years, concerns about loitering and people waiting for buses have surfaced.

Four years ago, the owner of the office building next to the bus stop lobbied to move the stop. The new owner has been similarly concerned about people blocking the building, said Kevin Cerrone, Washington County Commuter's director.

Blackstock said she gave the survey results to Cerrone and Rodney Tissue, the city engineer, who has been trying to figure out a better spot for the County Commuter transfer point, which is different from the stop near Public Square.

The transfer point has been in the 300 block of West Washington Street for at least 10 years.

Cerrone said last month that the city and County Commuter had exhausted a list of ideas for alternatives.

A state Department of Transportation official has said he expects to have a consultant's recommendation about the transfer point by Oct. 30.

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