Wednesday, March 24, 1999
Buses coming to Butler County in May
Service to link with Metro route
BY TANYA ALBERT
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Put those cars in the garage, Butler County commuters. Starting in May, there will be another way to get around buses.
On May 24, the Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) will begin running buses on four fixed routes in Hamilton.
An express service from Hamilton to a Metro park-and- ride lot at the Tri-County Assembly of God also starts then. From there, passengers can go to downtown Cincinnati, or the BCRTA bus can take them to Fairfield businesses up to 3 miles away. A similar express service will start to the West Chester Metro Park and Ride lot at McGinnis Park if Union Township approves money for it.
There's nothing like walking to the corner and catching a bus without bothering anyone, said Ruth Wadsworth, whose closest relatives live in Cincinnati. She said she would use the route that takes her to Fairfield, where she could pick up the Metro bus to Cincinnati.
My cousins, they'd be glad to meet me without having to drive all the way up here, she said.
The buses will run Monday through Friday from 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 7 p.m. During midday hours, passengers can call and make arrangements for curb-to-curb service, said Charlie Huff, manager of operations for BCRTA.
The area outside the Elder-Beerman store, down town, will serve as the temporary hub for the buses. The hub will move to the Government Services Center, a new building at High Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, when it opens in late summer.
From the hub, passengers can take Hamilton routes as far out as Meijer Plaza, Lincoln Avenue and Laurel Avenue. The hub also will be the pickup and drop-off point for the Fairfield and West Chester express routes.
Regular bus service was discontinued in Hamilton three years ago. The express routes will meet transportation needs for the Greater Cincinnati region.
Here's how the Fairfield lot will work:
People who live in Butler County and work downtown can get on a BCRTA bus at the Hamilton hub and transfer to the Metro bus at the park-and-ride lot to get to downtown Cincinnati.
BCRTA express bus riders can take a BCRTA bus to the park-and-
ride lot and then continue to Fairfield businesses within 3 miles of the lot.
Hamilton Country residents can take a Metro bus to the park-and-ride lot and then get on a BCRTA bus to go to a Fairfield business within 3 miles of the lot.
We know it will be utilized because a lot of businesses are saying they can't get employees to work because there is no mass transit, Mr. Huff said.
Adding bus service will be helpful for businesses, said Joe Hinson, chief executive officer of the Southeast Butler County Chamber of Commerce.
Any time you open transportation options that are not there, it's a positive, Mr. Hinson said. It will allow people who want to come here to work or shop but can't because of transportation to come. It's a win-win situation for everybody.
As BCRTA starts its service, it will use buses that the Toledo Transit Authority donated. New buses are expected to arrive in October.
The services starting in May are just the beginning for bus service in Butler County.
Next year, BCRTA plans to offer Saturday and all-night service in Hamilton. In 2001, there are plans to develop regional trips with Metro and to introduce connecting service from the Hamilton hub to Middletown and Oxford, Mr. Huff said. There also are plans to start a public transit route in Oxford in 2001.
And then we will grow from there, Mr. Huff said.
Sue Kiesewetter contributed to this report.
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