Carlisle getting new bus service

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 5, 2014 4:00 AM

(Carlisle) -- About a month after getting its cab service back, Carlisle will soon have another option: a public bus line. The new line comes as part of the state's $2.3 billion transportation funding package.

As proposed, the Carlisle Connector will run on three routes - commuter, health and human services, and retail.


Photo by Ben Allen/witf

They're all meant to serve different parts of the community, from Ritner Highway to Walnut Bottom Road to Carlisle Spring Road, six days a week. The "health and human services" line runs to the Carlisle Regional Medical Center, among other offices.

Capital Area Transit will actually provide the bus and drivers for the system.

"It takes a while for people to become familiar with the service and begin to use it. Once the service has been here for a couple years and it's established, if ridership doesn't develop, then we'll be working with the community to decide what to do with the service," says PennDOT's Toby Fauver.

A 2012 study found more than 35,000 people would ride the bus in a year.

The state is providing $186,246 to run the service each year for the next three years.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says near the end of the three year trial, the agency will meet with various partners and see if they're interested in helping to fund the service moving forward.

Some might question why increased gasoline taxes are going to public transportation and not road improvements.

"The entire system is cross subsidized. We're supporting a business development district here, we're supporting an educational facility. The reality is a prosperous Pennsylvania and a prosperous Carlisle benefits the residents of Pennsylvania and benefits all of us. And that's the same argument I've talked about all along," says PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch.

"The fact [is] that the entire system is cross subsidized. The entire system."

Fauver says 2 other similar "demonstrations", or trial runs, are going on in other parts of the state. He emphasizes that throughout the trial, schedules, routes and stops may be tinkered with to provide the best possible service and give the system the best chance at success.

Fauver expects the service in Carlisle to be up and running in 4-6 weeks. Bus stop signs will go up, and a website will provide information.

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