Since 2012, it’s been the dream of several dedicated individuals to provide a bus transportation route in the City of Washington Court House. The dream became a reality Thursday as the Fayette Transportation program initiated a “Point Deviated Route” that is open to everyone and will operate Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Chuck Winkle (former transportation director) had this dream in 2012,” said Joy Stanforth, the current transportation director at the Community Action Commission of Fayette County. “We just received approval from ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) to start this bus route. This is a trial route…so we have to see if people are going to utilize it before we decide if we’re going to keep it or not.”
The transportation program has approval for a six-month trial period and in 60 days, they must determine if they plan to move forward with a permanent route once those six months expire.
A 12-passenger bus (typically with space for four wheelchairs) has eight key hourly stops with the first stops during the 10 a.m. hour and the last stops during the 5 p.m. hour. The fare for each stop is 50 cents. Half-fare is available for those age 65 and older or those who are disabled. Half-fares require prior approval (applications will be on the bus and at the Community Action office).
The base for the route is the Community Action building, 1400 US Route 22 Northwest. Trip one will begin at the CAC building at 10 a.m. and will then depart every hour (11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., etc.) until the last trip at 5 p.m.
The next stop is Village Court at 10:05 a.m. and there will be stops every hour (11:05 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 1:05 p.m., etc.) until 5:05 p.m. “All of our surveys indicated that Village Court had the most need for transportation,” said Stanforth.
The next stop is Aldi, 200 Commerce Blvd., at 10:15 a.m. with stops every hour until 5:15 p.m. “We chose Aldi over Kroger because there are other businesses around it that people visit,” Stanforth said.
The fourth stop is Walmart, 1397 Leesburg Ave., at 10:20 a.m. with stops every hour until 5:20 p.m. “Walmart is an obvious stop and there are also a lot of businesses around it,” said Stanforth.
The next stop is Court and Main streets in downtown Washington C.H. at 10:30 a.m. with stops every hour until 5:30 p.m. “That is our downtown stop and there are a lot of people who need to go there to go to court or pay their water bill, etc.,” said Stanforth.
The sixth stop is Ohio Thrift, 100 Washington Square, at 10:35 a.m. with stops every hour until 5:35 p.m. “Ohio Thrift is at about midway at the shopping center out there,” said Stanforth. “From there they can easily go to the bank, get to CVS, Walgreen’s, etc.”
The next stop is Washington Court Apartments at 10:45 a.m. with stops every hour until 5:45 p.m. “At this location, we can get them to the other apartments in the area, Beacon Street, CVS and all of the nursing homes,” said Stanforth.
The final stop is Seton Apartments, 400 Glenn Ave., at 10:55 p.m. with stops every hour until 5:55 p.m. “This location is good because it’s in between Jenny Lane and Commons Drive,” said Stanforth.
Stanforth likened the new transportation system to a COTA bus in larger cities.
“You get off at whatever stop you want to and you just need to be there and have your fare,” she said. “You pay at each stop as you get on the bus. We will oftentimes be running late because of wheelchairs and the way the routes run. We won’t be early.”
Stanforth added that much credit goes to Mekia Rhoades, the mobility manager, Angie Mann with the transportation department, the transportation advisory council and the coordinated council.
“Mekia put a lot of hard work into this as did a number of other people,” she said. “We just want everyone to know that this is a trial and if they want it to work, people have to use it. This is our one shot and we will probably never have another opportunity. You won’t find any cheaper transportation.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica