New bus routes are officially open in the Eastern Panhandle. The community was invited to get a first hand look.
The Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority introduced a system map that will make it easier for riders to know about the bus schedules and routes. Officials say this new system will be user friendly, so riders won’t have to call in as much. Resident John Birckhead Jr. says he’s been riding just about every day since moving to Martinsburg.
“Being disabled, being legally blind, it’s hard. I don’t drive so in order to get from point A to point B, it’s pretty much the best way for me to travel,” said Birckhead Jr.
Right now the Eastern Panhandle Transit uses one transfer station. One big reason transit officials updated the system and schedules is to incorporate several transfer points.
“Our routes have changed quite a bit to reflect the urban style of transit and so these maps are going to take us to a whole new level,” said Doug Pixler, Director of Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority.
Over the last few years, there has been a 30 percent increase in ridership. With the growth, officials are also switching to a numbered route system because they’ve ran out of colors.
“We’re adding a route to Inwood. That would be Route 18. We’re adding a second Saturday bus,” said Elaine Bartoldson, Deputy Director of Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority.
Transit officials say the day-long fare is $5. You can go just about anywhere in the Panhandle.
“You know those that don’t need it, I hope they would start to understand more about those who do need it,” said Birckhead Jr.
Officials say the funds for this system comes from federal grants as well as local donations from cities and municipalities in area. As for the new map, transit officials say it will be available online by the end of the week.