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Director of Country Roads Transit Encourages City Councilmembers to Schedule a Ride

February 25, 2023

Mountaineer News

Buckhannon City Council

Country Roads Transit Director Laura Ward speaks to City Council on February 16th.

BUCKHANNON - During the February 16th Buckhannon City Council Meeting, Country Roads Transit Director Laura Ward provided an annual update to Council and thanked Councilmembers for their continued investment in the program.

“For fiscal year 2022, and thus far in 2023, we’re seeing an increase in ridership. In fact, we are on trend to return to our pre-Covid numbers… so we’re almost back to square one," Ward said.

“Those are rides to work, to mental health and medical appointments. Those are rides to the grocery store and to the pharmacy, and to social and recreational activities and more. I’m sure you can fully glean the importance of those rides, although most of you probably drove yourself here today,” she said.

“For many of our neighbors who need to get to that grocery store or to that medical appointment, they are not so fortunate as to have that transportation available to them, and so public transportation is a lifeline for those folks. Every dollar that you invest in transit supports that lifeline for those citizens,” she said.

Ward reminded Council that the program leverages dollars with a Federal Transit Administration 50/50 matching funds program.

“Every dollar that you invest provides $2 of service to your community,” she said.

Watch the full segment here:

Ward stated that it was difficult to get their riders to attend a council meeting to express the importance of the program and the effect on citizens within our community, and encouraged every Councilmember to schedule a ride in an effort to get to know some of the riders. She then proceeded to share a few personal stories of those who depend on the transit service.

Watch the full segment here:

Mayor Robbie Skinner stated that the Revenue and Expense Review Committee has approved to recommend continued funding to Council during their budget sessions.

5,840 total rides were reported; Watch Ward explain to Councilman Dave Thomas the difference between the transit’s route service and demand-response service here:

Councilman David McCauley and Ward briefly discussed the transit’s operating schedule. She stated that one of their goals was to extend service hours Monday through Friday and adding weekend services... but it all comes down to funding. "Everything is about money," she said.

Although they are still working on the draft for this year, she stated that the total budget for the transit program is somewhere around $670,000.

Ward stated that the City had historically given $10,000, but last year was given an additional $5,000 to assist with a Tuesday and Thursday Clarksburg VA and UHC medical route, which she said is still growing. She requested consideration in the sum of $15,000 to be allocated for Country Roads Transit for the upcoming fiscal year.

Watch the full segment here:

Country Roads Transit operates Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00am - 4:00pm.

You can view their route map and/or to schedule a ride by CLICKING HERE or by calling 304-636-6472.

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