Cumberland Times-News

Local News

February 2, 2013

Commissioners adopt five-year transportation plan for Allegany County

All-day bus pass, online payments among possibilities; hours could be extended if funding is found

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners on Thursday adopted a five-year public transportation development plan which includes some changes already implemented along with a wish list of possibilities should funding become available.

The plan is a “snapshot of where you are now and a vision for the future,” said Joel Eisenfeld of KFH Group, based in Bethesda.

Among the problems identified were that the various transportation options did not work well together and keeping on schedule was an additional issue, Eisenfeld said. Changes included streamlinging the Allegany County Transit bus routes and focusing on key service areas, Eisenfeld said. Bus routes would provide priority service to areas like Roses, Country Club Mall, Western Maryland Health System, Allegany College of Maryland and Frostburg State University.

Goals included increased on time performance and reducing the need for transfers, officials said. A separate goal was to decrease the operating costs of the system, which is highly subsidized by state and federal funding.

In the long term if funding became available, the hours of system operation could be extended, even into Saturdays. However, no funding for such a move is currently available, Eisenfeld said. The plan also looks at the possibility of an all-day pass and online payments, officials said.

Some of the changes in routes were controversial with both bus and Alltrans drivers and passengers who attended several public meeting to let their concerns be known. Commissioners decided to increase Alltrans fares $1 to $3 rather than $2 to $4, as originally proposed.

Alltrans is a van service for mobility-challenged riders.

Fixed route fares will re-main at $2, county officials said.

The plan was developed by county staff, KFH and the Maryland Transportation Administration, said James Stafford Jr., the county’s transit division chief. Stafford said there were also several opportunities for public input during the plan’s development.

The unanimous transportation plan decision was made at the regular weekly commission business meeting at county offices on Kelly Road.

Commissioners also reappointed Wayne Couter Sr. and Robert Roman as members of the Allegany County Building Code Appeals Board for five-year terms expiring Jan. 22, 2018.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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