County executive proposes new shuttle bus for rural town areas

I-270

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md (WDVM) — A new shuttle bus could begin circulating in some of Frederick County’s most rural areas.

Teresa Kempisty has lived in the Thurmont area for many years. She currently oversees the town’s senior center and she’s seen firsthand that getting around town without a car can be a challenge.

“It just seems like there’s whole areas of the county that aren’t getting enough service, or there aren’t enough buses to go around,” Kempisty said.

County Executive Jan Gardner is now brainstorming the idea of a new shuttle bus that would, on one given day, circulate within the communities of Emmitsburg, Middletown, Brunswick and Thurmont 

“It could be a route within the town or maybe go out in the county a little bit, depending, so that people would know that on a certain day of the week that they could go to the grocery, go to the library, get their haircut, do whatever they needed to do on that day,” Gardner said.

Gardner explains the county would buy a 12-seat shuttle bus with wheelchair accessibility, and fund a driver.

The bus would circulate around the community to bring residents to nearby libraries, shopping centers, and senior centers.

“Anything would be helpful because there is nothing now,” Kempisty said.

“It really is an identified issue, but rural transportation funding through our state and federal partners has been flat for 15 years,” Gardner explained.

In a letter sent out by Gardner to the mayor and burgesses of the proposed towns, she asks for input on the idea and if the municipalities could contribute money to the project.

“I think yes, it’s a great idea and we’re certainly going to look at it with our residents’ best interests in mind and with the county also,” mayor for the Town of Thurmont, John Kinnaird commented.

Still, Kinnaird say if the plan moves forward one of the biggest indicators of success will be continued ridership.

“How many people are going to utilize it? And is it going to be affordable enough for the number of people who use it,” he questioned.

The county executive plans to meet with the mayors and burgesses of the included towns next month.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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