Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014
The proposed Hopkinsville Transit bus system made headway this week when the city council agreed to a memorandum of understanding between it and Pennyrile Allied Community Services as the new bus lines move toward full service.
Ward 4 Councilman Paul Henson, chairman of the Hopkinsville Public Transportation Advisory Committee, said at the council meeting that the success of the new system will depend on how much traction it gets.
“If the public doesn’t get this and support it, it’s not going to be successful,” he said, “and we refuse to accept anything but success.”
To generate public interest after the city had failed on previous attempts to establish a public transportation system, the city put up a logo contest.
Henson said the contest created quite the buzz in the community.
“(The new buses) had to be different from the PACS buses to make people realize that it is a city transportation,” Henson said. “PACS is our partner in this thing. They’re going to actually do most of the management of it because they know the laws and regulations relating to bus service.”
One driving factor in establishing the lines was making sure the new bus lines will service the city’s industrial park area, a plan that could help lure other manufacturers to the area.
“Why do we not have public transportation?” council members asked at Tuesday’s meeting. “Many industrial people who come into our town, that’s one of the questions that they ask.”
The new system is set to operate five days a week, running 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The service will be closed on five holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day.
“As far as snow days,” Henson said, “we have not really talked about that.”
He pointed out, however, that if it’s too dangerous for school buses, it is probably too dangerous for city buses.
The two proposed routes are each roughly 60 minutes long and are known as diverted routes instead of a standard fixed route.
The government grant monies dictate that the city use the diverted model, which means that if a person lives within three-fourth of a mile of either route and calls 48 hours in advance, the bus will pick them up at their location.
“”They can’t just call five minutes and say, ‘On the next trip through, send the bus over,’” Henson said. “It’s got to be 48 hours in advance. We need everyone to understand that.”
Henson added that he and the advisory panel have put in a lot of time and brain power behind the project, but “It’s all subject to change on our ridership.”
“Each month or so, we’re going to sit down and … (make adjustments) to make this thing successful,” he said.
Fees were set at $1 for adults — anyone over 12 — and 50 cents for passengers over 60. Disabled, children ages 7 to 11 and active-duty military with ID will also ride for 50 cents. Children 6 or younger will ride free with an adult.
“All you kids under 6, don’t be out there milking the bus so you can ride around town for free,” Henson joked.
Hopkinsville Transit will also offer weekly and monthly passes for $5 and $15.
“Is it going to make a profit? Probably not,” Henson admitted. “I talked to several companies. They all are just trying to break even.”
He said that any excess profits would be paid back to the grant money.
According to the proposed routes, the Red Line will leave PACS near Clay and 11th Streets and travel through the Bryan Street and Durrett Avenue neighborhoods before heading on to Calvin Manor. It will stop at the industrial parks, the unemployment office, veterans center, Hopkinsville Community College and the senior center.
The Blue Line will start at PACS and run through the Bryan and Crocket Street neighborhoods toward Fort Campbell Boulevard. Major stops along its route include Wal-Mart, the Social Security Office, Kroger, the YMCA, DeBow Park, Jennie Stuart Medical Center and the Health Department before heading back to PACS.
Both routes start every hour at PACS. Henson that both buses should arrive back at PACS at the same time to effect a transfer from one line to the other.
Bus stop signs have yet to be put up, which is next on the transit line’s to-do list before the buses go into full operation, a date for which has yet to be determined.
For a detailed route map of both lines, fares and hours of operation, go to the Hopkinsville Transit website at hopkinsvilleky.us/transit.
For other questions, call Hopkinsville Transit at 270-890-0215.