Transit authority suspends evening “loop” bus run

WTAP News @ 6
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:21 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A Mid-Ohio Valley transit bus line that’s been in operation since 2015 has been suspended due to the lack of drivers-and passengers.

The transit authority’s board of directors voted late Tuesday afternoon to suspend the “loop” run until at least January. It’s hoped by then the local economy will improve, and more drivers can be hired.

The route has been running four times during the evening, Monday through Saturday, from downtown Parkersburg to Dudley Avenue and Vienna.

General Manager Michael Kesterson says the bus system is currently down five drivers, and existing drivers have been putting in longer hours to work the evening run.

”We would have a 7:00 run, an 8, a 9 and a 10:00 run,” Kesterson explained to the board Tuesday. “Four runs, three buses, so it’s going to save us about 120 hours a week so we can get these drivers some time off.”

Kesterson says it’s been difficult hiring additional drivers. Some people have not shown up for scheduled interviews, while others, after being interviewed, turned down job offers.

He adds that while-before the pandemic-buses often ran at full capacity, as few as nine passengers have recently taken the route. Earlier business closings have also been a factor.

A large number of the passengers have been shoppers, while others were people going to jobs at businesses such as fast food restaurants.

The suspension is scheduled to take effect October 15.

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