A new bus route connecting two communities and several changes to existing service are anticipated by the Crawford Area Transportation Authority as it prepares its budget for the coming fiscal year.
CATA recently held two meetings — one in Meadville and one in Titusville — to detail the proposed changes.
In Titusville, evening hours and the Saturday fixed route will be eliminated.
The elimination of evening hours in Titusville was due to lack of ridership, according to Timothy Geibel, CATA executive director. “The Titusville route traditionally ended at 5:30 p.m. Last year we decided to extend the hours until 7 p.m. but we found that the evening services were not utilized.”
The elimination of the Saturday Titusville fixed route does not mean that transportation will not be available. The services will be provided on Saturdays for 6 1/2 hours through the shared ride program. “We found that the majority of our Saturday fixed route customers were eligible for the shared ride service. Our shared ride service is open to the general public, so we will serve our Saturday riders through that service instead,” Geibel said. The shared ride service is a door-to-door transportation service that requires passengers to call CATA one day prior to make reservations.
“Our shared ride service is funded through the Pennsylvania Lottery,” Geibel said. “This service is subsidized for seniors and disabled citizens through the lottery.”
CATA’s evening service hours in Meadville changed last July and the plan is to make that change permanent. Prior to July 2014, one bus ran from 8 to 11:30 p.m. “That service did not work out well for passengers,” Geibel said. “In July we tried running three buses from 8 to 10 p.m. and that service is well-used, so we hope to make that a permanent change.
“We monitor routes for low utilization and we also look at demand for new services,” Geibel said. “That’s the reason for changes in Titusville and Meadville.”
Also on the agenda for CATA is a proposed fixed route between Saegertown and Meadville scheduled to run Monday through Saturday. This route will run five round trips per day scheduled to depart the Downtown Mall in Meadville at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Geibel said there is corporate and public support for this route. “We think this route will be well-used with stops at places like the Crawford County Care Center, The Quality Living Center, Bethesda and others along the route” he said.
Rates will vary for this route depending on distance traveled, but the costliest trip will be $2.50 for those who travel north of Bethesda. A shorter ride will cost riders $1.25. Discounts include the free fare for passengers 65 and older or under the age of 5 and a 75 cent fare for children age 6 to 17. Transfers are free.
The authority will review public comment on the plans before finalizing its new budget, which begins in July.
Geibel said that CATA receives funding from the Pennsylvania Lottery, the federal government and the state government. Crawford County also provides funding.
Lorri Drumm can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.