Job seekers, workers and residents needing healthcare or looking to conserve gas in western Clark County and Springfield will have a new transportation option April 15 when a long-anticipated bus route rolls out.
WestCAT — funded by a $35,000 Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) federal grant and by local money, on-bus advertising and fares — will run routes between Springfield, New Carlisle, Park Layne, Medway, Mad River Twp./Enon, and connect with the Greene County system in Fairborn Monday through Friday.
“We’re really excited, especially now because we’re connecting to GreeneCATS. It just opens up bringing more people into Clark County from that area,” New Carlisle City Manager Kim Jones said.
The connection gives Clark County residents an opportunity to get to Wright State University, Clark State Community College’s Greene County campus and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, then potentially to areas in Dayton and beyond via other connections, she said.
The project officially started about two years ago when Jones, on behalf of New Carlisle, applied for and received the JARC grant. The city later rolled funding over to Clark County Board Developmental Disabilities for administration of the system.
Route A runs 7:35 a.m. to 9:19 a.m. and 10:47 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. from Springfield’s Market Square Bus Center to New Carlisle, Park Layne, Mad River Twp./Enon, and to Fairborn — where riders can connect with GreeneCATS or return to Springfield via a direct route.
Route B will run in reverse of Route A, also starting at Market Square Bus Center, with service from 3:55 to 5:37 p.m.
A third route, Route C, will also start at Market Square Bus Center and run to New Carlisle, Park Layne and Mad River Twp./Enon, but will not make a stop in Fairborn and instead return directly to Springfield. Service for that route is from 9:20 to 10:40 a.m. and 2:20 to 3:40 p.m.
“We had to get it so that each route is under 90 minutes and had to alter stops where we wanted to have stops,” Jones said. “But we had to decide what was best for the greater good to try to serve the most number of people in the shortest amount of time.”
All routes include stops at or along: Springfield Regional Medical Center in Springfield; Brubaker Terrace, Howard’s IGA, Lake Avenue/Clay Street/Jefferson Street/Main Street in New Carlisle; Ohio 235/Styer Drive, Stratmore Street/Gerlaugh Road in Park Layne; Rite Aid in Enon; Southern Vista Drive/Xenia Drive in Mad River Twp./Enon.
“Flex-route” areas will be on available along New Carlisle Pike in the Rockway area of Springfield Twp., within the city of New Carlisle, in the Park Layne and Medway areas, along Xenia Drive in Enon and along Southern Vista Drive to Dayton-Springfield Road in Mad River Twp.
Boarding is permitted anywhere along those areas where speed limits are 35 mph or less and the bus can safely pull out of traffic, according to the WestCAT website.
Riders physically unable to reach stops or areas along the flex-routes will be able to request a pickup by telephone at least two days in advance. Two deviations per route cycle are available up to a ¼-mile.
And those looking for recreation on the Miami Valley’s miles of multi-use trails can use provided bicycle racks for transport.
The project saw funding and planning partnerships with Job and Family Services of Clark County, Mad River Twp., Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee, Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.
Enon officials have discussed funding a portion of the operation, but council hasn’t yet heard a measure on it.
A rollout ceremony of the two new buses will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Enon/Mad River Twp. Fire Department, 260 E. Main St., in Enon. They’re capable of transporting 16 people and up to four wheelchairs.
Fares are set at $2 for one-way service. The system will employ two part-time drivers.
For complete route details and more information, visit www.ridewestcat.com, call 937-328-5240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.