Transit board wants county to expand service to South Carroll

December 16, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Members of the Carroll Transit System board of directors say South Carroll is the most logical place for the county to expand public transportation, and they will ask county commissioners to endorse such a move when they meet Monday.

A recent transportation survey commissioned by the county and Carroll Transit's ridership both point to one logical step -- a "deviated fixed route" in South Carroll that would make regular stops at appointed places, said Linda Boyer, executive director of Carroll Transit.

The "deviated" part means the van driver would have some flexibility to pick up people whose disabilities prevent them from getting to a regular stop, Ms. Boyer said.

People who could not make it to a van stop would call 24 hours in advance, as all riders in South Carroll do now, for the driver to pick them up at their homes.

The benefit of a fixed route would be that most riders won't have to call in advance, said Peggie Roland, president of the Carroll Transit board.

"If I can't call for a ride, I know that if I get to point A, that bus runs," Ms. Roland said.

The commissioners have favored fixed routes and have questioned the efficiency of the mostly demand/response service Carroll Transit has offered.

The survey the county recently conducted got so few responses that it would be risky to use it as the basis for major changes, said Darlene DeMario, commuter transportation coordinator for the county.

She said the survey respondents from Sykesville and Taneytown want more service.

Carroll Transit is a private, nonprofit agency that contracts with county government to provide public transportation. It also has several smaller contracts with other agencies, schools and day-care centers.

It has some fixed routes, such as for a shopper shuttle, and makes regular trips to all the senior citizen centers.

The transit board yesterday met at Bullock's Airport Inn and voted to propose that the county contract with Carroll Transit to provide the deviated fixed route in South Carroll, including Sykesville.

Ms. Boyer said she had no idea yet how much the route would cost, but the county could request state aid for it through the transportation grants it gets each year.

The reason she has no estimate on the cost, she said, is that the proposal is so new.

"It's all speculation right now," she said. "We're talking four to five or even six months down the road."

However, she said such a route could run two to three times a day, with regular stops at places such as Carrolltown Center and downtown Sykesville. The van would then take riders to Westminster, where several South Carroll residents go for medical care, shopping, college and other reasons.

She anticipated no change in rates the riders pay. Unless they qualify for discount tickets through area social service agencies, riders pay $6 one way from Sykesville to Westminster. Rides within the Eldersburg area would be $2 each way.

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