FACT officials discuss upgrades, rates at meeting
Author: Amy Revak
Date: June 14, 2009
Additional stops for fixed routes throughout and beyond Fayette County and plans to build a transfer center in the Fayette County Business Park were among the planned upgrades detailed Friday by Fayette Area Coordinated Transportation officials.
During a public hearing at the FACT public transit center on Friday, operations manager Kim Renze announced that there would not be a rate increase for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
"There will be no increase in fares for the fixed routes or the Pittsburgh route," Renze said.
Last year, the base public transit fare increased from $1.25 to $1.40.
The base cost of a fixed-route ride to Pittsburgh price will remain at $7.85. Monthly passes will remain at $45 and a monthly Pittsburgh pass will continue to be $225.
Renze said a few of the fixed routes would have changes, including the Uniontown A Sunday bus, which has added stops at the churches of St. John, St. Mary and St. Theresa.
The Connellsville/Uniontown route for Monday through Saturday will include a "Westmoreland connector" that will allow riders to utilize the Westmoreland County transit system by going from the Shop 'N Save supermarket in Connellsville to Country Side Plaza in Mount Pleasant.
"We're very excited to extend existing service," Renze said.
Another addition is to the Brownsville express route with stops on Morgantown Street at Zep's Video and on Pittsburgh Street at the CVS pharmacy in Uniontown around 7:30 a.m.
Renze said the Uniontown B route would provide trips to the license center at the state Department of Transportation office on North Gallatin Avenue Extension four times a day. He said trips also would be available to the veteran's clinic, as well as to the IHOP and Applebee's restaurants in the Fayette County Business Park.
"We made a few changes on the request of the people who do a lot of the riding," Renze said.
Renze also announced that Thursday will be "Dump the Pump" day in which people can ride
FACT buses for free all day, as a way to attract more riders.
Lori Groover-Smith, acting FACT director, said the $1,507,025 operating and capital assistance budget, which is used to provide fixed routes, includes $641,844 in federal money; $515,084 in state funding and $350,097 in local funding.
She said the fixed routes include Uniontown, Connellsville, Hopwood/Chalk Hill/Farmington, Brownsville, Republic, Masontown, Smithfield, Fairchance and four daily routes to Pittsburgh.
Groover-Smith said $282,730 in capital purchase funding will be used to purchase furniture and equipment for a new transfer center to be constructed on Matthew Drive Extension in South Union Township.
Groover-Smith said FACT has received $154,499 for the transfer building's construction, in addition to the $923,000 from the federal economic stimulus package for construction of the site.
"We're well on our way," said Groover-Smith about the project. She said FACT has solicited proposals for an engineer for the project.
Groover-Smith said the Fayette County commissioners have given approval to hire 31/2 more drivers this month and she is anticipating that 11/2 additional drivers will be hired after the new transfer center is built.
Currently, FACT has 10 full-time drivers.
A total of $463,500 from various sources is available for bus purchases, including $370,800 in federal money, $77,250 in state money and $15,450 in local funding, Groover-Smith said.
A total of $118,750 also is available for a bus storage garage, which will be constructed to store extra buses, Groover-Smith said.
Ray McDonald, transportation information manager, said cancellations and no-shows have been a problem over the last few years, but by July 1 plans are to have vehicle locators and mobile data computers in all buses for fixed routes and shared-ride routes.
Groover-Smith said in the past one-year agreements have been made with subcontractors, but two-year contracts have been approved for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years.
For the Brownsville express and Brownsville/Republic routes, Brownsville Bus Lines is the subcontractor; for the Masontown/Fairchance route, Central Cab Co. of Waynesburg is the subcontractor and for the Hopwood/Chalk Hill/Farmington and Uniontown A and B routes, Budget Charter of Penncraft is the subcontractor.
Groover-Smith said clients shouldn't see a change in service, even if there is a change in the provider.
Groover-Smith also said a mechanic position has been posted, and should be hired soon.