Thanks to public input, the Delaware Area Transit Agency’s Sunbury and Westerville routes will continue, although there will be changes.
“The board approved the proposal to reduce the length and timing of the Sunbury/Westerville routes,” said DATA Bus spokeswoman Ginny Berry. The seven-member board unanimously approved the proposal at its meeting last week.
Currently, the Delaware/Sunbury Purple Route 8 has six weekday runs that start at 6:30 a.m. and end at 6:40 p.m.; while the Sunbury/Westerville Red Route 9 has weekday five runs that start at 7:15 a.m. and end at 6:13 p.m. The Purple route has seven stops, ranging from the Kroger Sunbury to Fourwinds Drive; the Red Route has six stops, ranging from the Kroger Sunbury to the Giant Eagle in Westerville.
“The (changes to the) routes haven’t been completed yet,” Berry said. “Most likely, it will be a morning run, a midday run, and an afternoon run. The bulk of the service will be Delaware to Sunbury, too, because that’s what the current ridership is showing.”
Berry said that Sunbury to Westerville may become more of an express route.
The routes began in January due to public requests. Ridership rose during the spring, but had dropped in the summer to the point where DATA Bus officials questioned whether to discontinue the routes.
Two public hearings were held, and it was learned that some new riders were interested in the routes.
“Input from the public hearings helped determine that theses routes shouldn’t be discontinued altogether,” Berry said. “We always like to have more feedback and public participation. We were pleased that some members of the public came out, and ones who couldn’t attend emailed us or called into our customer service department and let us know that they wanted to keep the routes and that they were important to the area.”
Service in the area is expected to continue into July 2016, Berry said. There will be a public hearing on the changes to the routes at a date to be determined.
For more information, visit www.ridedata.com or call 740-363-3355.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.