On Monday, Fayette County Commissioners passed a resolution to continue the point deviated bus route that has been running since June of last year as a pilot program. The route is now a permanent part of Washington Court House’s public transportation offerings.
Commissioner Dan Dean said, “We passed a resolution to continue the deviated bus route since its use has continued to grow and [it provides] needed transportation options for Fayette County citizens.”
The route runs throughout the city with eight key stops. In addition to these stops, drivers may stop at destinations along the route if so requested by passengers. Drivers may also deviate up to three blocks from the route to pick up passengers who are unable to make it to the stops if this is arranged by the passengers beforehand. Buses run the route every hour between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
A bus route is a new addition to Washington Court House’s public transportation. In addition to the route, the demand response transportation program is still available. This program differs from the route in that the bus offers curb-to-curb or, if needed, door-to-door service, and can take passengers anywhere within the county. Rides with the response demand program must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance.
Transit director at Fayette County Community Action, Joy Stanforth, said the introduction of the bus route has been possible thanks to the support of the community. She said “the commissioners have been very supportive” and “the city has been extremely supportive.”
Stanforth also noted that she thinks the route has “really helped the people who are taking advantage of it and we keep seeing more and more people that are taking advantage of it.” She said these individuals ride the bus to work, to the grocery store, to the nursing home to visit loved ones, to the library and more.
Stanforth said the bus “is open to everybody.” Rides along the route cost 50 cents. The demand response service costs $1 per ride within the city, $1.50 per ride outside the city but within the county, and $2.50 per mile for out-of-county transportation. Half-price fares are available for individuals ages 65 or over and for individuals who are handicapped. All buses have ramps or wheelchair lifts, according to Stanforth. Qualifying individuals must complete an application to be approved for half-fares. These applications can be obtained from any bus driver or by calling 740-335-9628.
Stanforth noted that many SugarCreek Packing employees get to work using demand response transportation. She said there is a misconception that the government is covering the cost of their work transportation.
In actuality, she said, SugarCreek pays twice the normal rate to guarantee that their employees will have reserved seats on the buses to get them to work. Stanforth said this payment from SugarCreek accounts for a substantial portion of the “match money” that the county is obligated to provide in order to receive state and federal grants. She said SugarCreek is “helping us to be able to afford the program for others.”
Stanforth said city officials, including city manager Joe Denen, have been “so very supportive” of the introduction of the bus route. She added, “I appreciate them so much.”
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2