MADISON — Tri-River Transit director Paula Smith gave an update on public bus service in Boone County.
Tri-River Transit Authority began public bus service in Lincoln County in Jan. 2000. They added bus service and non-emergency medical service in Sept. 2001.
The bus company has been able to provide service to Southern WV Community College campuses; Regional Day Report centers; county DHHR offices; County Courthouses; multiple schools; shopping venues; regional and local hospitals; and other medical facilities.
In 2001, the service had 1,782 riders with a Wharton/Clothier route. In 2008, ridership had grown to 6,252 with a Wharton only route. In 2012, ridership dropped slightly to 6,165 with a Wharton/Clothier/Whitesville route. In 2013, ridership increased to its highest level at 6,477 with the Wharton/Clothier/Whitesville route.
Tri River Transit employs 25 people, Smith said.
“We have traveled over five million miles,” she said. “Tri River Transit has transported over 697,690 passengers at the end of 2013.”
“In many of our communities, access to public transportation serves as a life line to residents,” Smith added. “About 80 percent of riders use public transit because they have no other means to get to work, school, stores, medical appointments and to conduct personal business. With the national efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, public transit will continue to be a viable resource throughout rural communities.”