Shared Ride going well

Expansion of the Transit Authority of Warren County’s shared-ride program has been “well ridden”, according to TAWC staff.

The program, which utilizes smaller buses to provide door-to-door service particularly for senior citizens, started offering full five-day service anywhere in the county for the first time on Jan. 1.

Part of the way that TAWC has accommodated the extra time on the road is by assigning the program a “county bus.” Staff member Brad Wilcox said the bus was assigned to “have more service in the rural areas.”

He added, “This county bus will go anywhere five days a week.”

TAWC Director John Aldrich said the program used to be in some services areas throughout the county as few as three days per week.

Now five-day service is available.

“This bus accommodates that,” Wilcox said. While there is no way to predict who will ride on what days each week, he noted that the county bus is “well ridden” with knowledge of the county bus largely spread through word of mouth.

Board member Grace Wright asked whether the trips the bus was facilitating are “must trips,” to places like doctor’s offices, or are instead optional. Wilcox said that three-fourths are for “shopping…something to do.”

The switch to provide five-day service was approved last November.

“We propose to provide service in all Warren County service areas five days a week,” Aldrich wrote in a letter to PennDOT that officially requested the change. “This is being proposed to provide a more equal level of service availability for all County residents.”

PennDOT subsequently approved the request.

Experimenting with five-day service was the next step in that program development.

“We think we should try to continue to grow the program a bit if we can,” Aldrich told the board in November. “Try to grow the program where people from (throughout the county) can receive service five days a week, not just three or four.”

Additional state funding for the program could potentially be available if the experiment works. “If you grow over time, they’ll provide more funds based on the trips,” Aldrich noted.