Handful of people offers input on County Commuter system

May 27, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A consulting company hired to suggest improvements to the County Commuter transit system is seeking public input as it examines options such as adding Sunday service and extending the system to the southern and western reaches of the county.

LSC Transportation Consultants Inc. will use the comments, along with ridership data, driver feedback and other information, to identify possible changes and their costs, which later will be narrowed down to a set of proposed changes and developed into a transit development plan, consultant Michael Felschow said.

The company's first public meeting on the project, held Wednesday night at the Elgin Station Community Center in Hagerstown, attracted only a small handful of people, but generated several suggestions.

One rider, Louis Rivers, 48, of Hagerstown, noted the county transit system is not linked to or coordinated with the state's commuter bus service, which connects to the Washington, D.C., Metrorail system, or Hagerstown's Greyhound bus station, which provides transportation to destinations all over the country.


Both the Maryland Transit Administration commuter bus station and the Greyhound station are off of Sharpsburg Pike just south of the Interstate 70 interchange. The closest County Commuter route goes only as far as Prime Outlets at Hagerstown, about a mile north of the stations.

Even if a rider were willing to walk from Prime Outlets to the MTA commuter bus station, that would be impossible because the last MTA bus leaves at 6:35 a.m. and the first County Commuter bus doesn't reach Prime Outlets until 8:30 a.m., Rivers said.

Rivers said the county should extend the Prime Outlets route to the bus stations and add earlier runs.

"Without that, people in the city that want to get out of town that don't drive won't be able to do that," he said.

Rivers also requested more frequent runs, and asked that the Maugansville route stop in Hamilton Park on both its outbound and inbound trips. Currently, the route makes the stop only while headed toward downtown Hagerstown in the mornings and only while headed away from downtown Hagerstown in the afternoons.

Dean Williams, 64, of Hagerstown, asked the county to keep disabled and older riders in mind and stop closer to grocery stores and other shopping destinations.

Hannah Cramer, deputy director of the Washington County Commission on Aging, said she would be interested in working with the county transit system to develop a door-to-door van service that would help seniors get to doctors' appointments.

The consulting company also collected feedback from riders with an onboard survey handed out to riders April 15, Felschow said.

Some of the most frequent suggestions were requests for larger buses and the addition of Sunday service, according to a summary report posted on the LSCCS Web site.

Felschow said the company is considering holding meetings in parts of the county where the County Commuter does not currently run, such as the Boonsboro-Keedysville area, to gauge interest in extending the service there.

Residents also can e-mail comments to and view the company's reports at

The next public meeting on the plan probably will be scheduled for July, Felschow said.

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