A new public transportation line designed primarily to get Western Clark County residents to their jobs had a slow start in its first week.
But officials expect ridership to pick up as warmer weather takes hold and awareness of the service increases.
Drivers had logged only two riders as of Thursday, said Bob Bender, operations director for the Clark County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which operates the new WestCAT system through a $35,000 federal Job Access and Reverse Commute grant and local dollars.
“Some of that is (because it’s) a brand new service,” he said, adding that residents in Western Clark County haven’t had a bus service in 40 years. “I think once the weather breaks it’s going to pick up and once people get familiar with it.”
People have shown an interest in the service, despite low ridership, Bender said.
“We probably get three to four calls a day from people asking about it,” he said.
The 16-seat buses can accommodate two wheelchairs in the full-seating configuration, and four wheelchairs with conversions of folding rear benches, driver Gary McKenzie Sr. demonstrated Thursday.
Marketing of the bus line continues, Bender said, with plans to place 4,000 brochures in senior, civic and other centers in the service area.
“It takes a little time to get the word out,” he said.
Buses run three different routes, starting at Springfield’s United Senior Services through the Rockway area of Springfield Twp., New Carlisle, Medway, Park Layne, Enon and back to Springfield.
Two routes connect in Fairborn with the GreeneCATS system and all riders to Springfield can connect with the Springfield SCAT system.
Its main purpose is to get people to their jobs, officials have said, but shoppers and diners can utilize the service to get to other communities.
And bicycle racks will be installed soon to serve those looking to use bikes for commuting or recreational purposes.
Cost is $2 for one-way service through at least the end of the year. For complete schedule, route and connection information, visit www.ridewestcat.com.