Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Bus riders get break

$1 fare for Butler County's Blast waived this week to promote ridership

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — Some Butler County bus riders can have a blast for free this week.

        The Butler County Regional Transit Authority, which operates the Blast bus service, has waived the $1 fare through Friday as part of Try Transit Week, a nationwide effort to bring awareness to public transportation.

        Most transit systems across the country participate in Try Transit Week in some way, said Amy Terango, BCRTA executive director.

        Margaret Becraft of Hamilton uses the bus to visit her grandchildren on Hamilton's west side.

        “I couldn't get over there to see my grandchildren if they didn't have the buses running,” she said. “I'm hoping that a lot of people will ride them more.”

        The bus also means Jennifer Parra, who began riding only two weeks ago, can easily get to medical appointments and shopping centers.

        She appreciates the help the BCRTA staff provides, and that the vehicles are clean and safe.

        “I like being able to get where I need to go,” the Hamilton resident said. “It costs about $2 now just to get into the (taxi). I can't afford that. I think this is best thing that's ever happened to Hamilton.”

        Mary Blanton, a Hamilton resident for about a decade, uses Dial-A-Ride to get to work and uses the bus to get around Hamilton.

        “That's my only trans portation,” she said. “I don't know what I'd do without them. It's a godsend to me.”

        The $2 fare for the Blast's Dial-A-Ride service, which picks riders up at their door and delivers them to their destination, will not be waived during the promotion.

        “We'd really like to see some increased riders from folks who have not normally used the routes,” said Andy Baker-Tyree, manager of communications and marketing for BCRTA.

        “Those who already do, we like to say "thank you' for riding on our routes daily. Nationwide there's usually a 5-10 percent increase through the week of new riders. We'd like to see that, too.”

        The bus service, started in 1998, has about 2,000 trips daily. A trip is defined as a person getting on a bus.

        Actual ridership has not been determined.

        In addition to Dial-A-Ride, Blast operates routes in Hamilton and Fairfield, runs to Middletown and Tri-County Mall, and partners with Metro to offer reverse commutes from Cincinnati to West Chester Township and Fairfield.

        The partners also operate a park-and-ride lot at West Chester's McGinnis Park.

        Middletown and Metro bus systems honor transfers from the Blast, and vice versa.

        The Blast is considered a commuter system, running routes 6-10 a.m. and 2-7 p.m. weekdays. Buses do not run on weekends.


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