Scranton resident Sylvia Tini, left, speaks with Lynn Colosi, center, senior vice president of Clear View Strategies, and COLTS Communications Director Gretchen Wintermantel during a public meeting on the transit company’s planned route restructuring on Thursday.Christopher J. Hughes photo / For Go Lackawanna
SCRANTON – Bus riders in Lackawanna County have found little fault with the County of Lackawanna Transit System’s planned route restructuring, officials learned during public input sessions held at the Mall at Steamtown this week.
COLTS is in the midst of gathering reactions and recommendations from riders on a proposed plan that increases trips to business plazas and malls in Dickson City and Scranton, adds evening and Saturday morning service, and eliminates routes due to low ridership.
Scranton resident Sylvia Tini, 69, however, hopes that the agency will reconsider the elimination of trips to Mt. Airy Casino in Mt. Pocono, a “huge expense” to COLTS according to Communications Director Gretchen Wintermantel. It’s a trip Tini and her husband take once a week, but she admits they’re among the few who use the bus to get there.
“I wanted to suggest that they not make as many trips, say one trip twice a week,” Tini said.
Tini was one of more than a dozen patrons who offered their thoughts during the first session held Thursday.
COLTS paid $2,000 of the $77,000 year-long study to rebuild the routes. The remainder came from state grants, according to Wintermantel.
The last route restructuring occurred at least 15 years ago, she said.
John Marazio, 59, of Scranton, said he would have enjoyed Saturday service before his semi-retirement to earn overtime pay. He said he uses the buses to move around the county because “taxi cab fares are outrageous.”
COLTS rider Ann Reap, 56, of Scranton, arrived at Steamtown by bus and said she’s relied on the system for more than 20 years.
“I like the restructuring as long as I can get on the bus to go to work,” she said. She also appreciated the addition of service to the Gerrity’s Supermarket in the Keyser Oak Shopping Center in Scranton.
The goal of the restructuring is to eliminate poorly performing routes and put service back where greater transportation needs exist, according to R. Lynn Colosi, senior vice president of Pittsburgh-based transportation consultant Clear View Strategies, said.
Colosi said existing “connections don’t work” in the shopping areas of Commerce Boulevard in Dickson City that didn’t exist 15 years ago. The goal is to allow senior citizens, workers and shoppers to reach those areas easily.
“Overall, it helps the county because it moves people. It moves people who spend money, it moves them to their doctor’s appointments, and it improves the economic condition of the county,” she said.
Full recommendations for COLTS’ route restructuring are posted at www.coltsbus.com. The 30-day public comment session ends May 11. Comments may be mailed to COLTS Route Analysis, 800 North South Rd., Scranton, Pa. 18504, or e-mailed to email@example.com. Riders should include contact information with their written comments.