The Delaware Area Transit Agency will hold public hearings on Wednesday about possibly eliminating its Purple Sunbury and Red Westerville routes.
Last year, DATA Bus decided to serve low-income residents getting to work in the eastern part of the county by establishing fixed routes from Delaware to Sunbury and Sunbury to Westerville. Now those routes could end in September, less than a year after they started.
“We’ve had 715 riders on the routes from January to July 24,” said executive director Denny Schooley. “We believed when we got into the warmer months that we would see an increase. We peaked in April, and it has continued to go down each month. If the need is not there, we don’t want to continue those routes.”
The public’s comments can help determine whether to discontinue, modify or continue the routes without change, Schooley said.
“People might say the timing is off, or your stop is so far away that I can’t make use of it,” he said. “This is just a proposal, and that’s the whole reason for the public hearing.”
At the public hearing, DATA Bus staff will discuss the proposed changes and seek comments, suggestions and questions.
In addition, the hearing will provide information on new timing for the new Saturday routes, which Schooley said was very popular; and changes to the Green route as construction winds down on U.S. 23.
“We want to make sure we’re making the most efficient use of the taxpayer dollars,” Schooley said. “Our sole purpose is to serve the public. To serve them best, we need to hear from them.”
The public may attend the hearings, which are at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday in the DATA Bus offices at 119 Henderson Court. If you are unable to attend, comments can be called in at 740-368-9033, Ext. 1, or mailed to: DATA Bus, public hearing comments, 119 Henderson Court, Delaware, OH 43015.
The mailed-in comments can be received until 4 p.m. Aug. 19. The DATA Bus board will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 in its offices and may make a decision at that time. The public may attend the board meeting.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.