EPTA Article from The Journal newspaper May 29, 2014

EPTA to debut multiple ridership programs

5/29/2014 12:00:00 AM
By Samantha Cronk
MARTINSBURG – In response to community requests and ridership needs, the Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority will debut four new ridership programs intended to boost public use and enhance transit opportunities throughout the Eastern Panhandle.
In an effort to make public transportation more affordable to the senior and disabled population, EPTA will offer residents over 60 or with a verifiable disability a half-fare card, reducing the monthly pass from $60 to $30 or reducing daily fares.
While the program goes into effect June 2, qualifying residents can sign up for the half-fare card now. Residents can sign up at the EPTA office or if requested through an organization, EPTA will conduct sign-ups at a vendor location, such as Ambrose Towers.
“We’re starting to notice with the population of people in the Eastern Panhandle, people with disabilities, that population is going to increase because Martinsburg is an urban area and people with disabilities tend to live in areas that are more accessible. I think this is going to be really helpful for them,” said Cheryl Keyrouze, executive director.
In addition to seniors, the EPTA’s new programs will benefit new employees. Through participating businesses, newly hired residents can receive a free 30-day fare card as part of the “Get a Job, Get a Ride” program.
Viewed as a way to increase ridership and connect with local businesses, EPTA has already received several requests for businesses to be included in the program with is currently available.
“It really is about getting people to work who have been unemployed, who probably don’t have the resources to get to a job because they’ve been unemployed and money’s tight. By partnering with local companies and corporations, which doesn’t cost anything for them, we can get their employees to work,” said Elaine Bartoldson, director of marketing.
Businesses must be on EPTA’s established bus route to participate.
An additional ridership program, to debut June 2, is to offer a $5 all-day pass. Residents will be able to purchase the pass from the driver or purchase a voucher at the EPTA office, which can be exchanged for a pass on any day.
Bartoldson said the idea behind the $5 pass was inspired by a request from a local charitable organization looking for a way to pre-purchase bus ticket to distribute to members.
“We feel this is going to fill a void for people. More than anything, I think a helping hand up is always a good thing for somebody,” Bartoldson said.
The final ridership program to debut is a 25 percent student discount on a monthly pass, worth $15. Any student with proof of enrollment, from a student identification card to letter of enrollment on school letterhead, can receive the discount at the EPTA office.
“We want to increase ridership, and the more people who realize what a viable transit system is and how important it is to the economic development of a community, the more people that get on it and the more people who use it, the more demand there’s going to be for it,” Bartoldson said.
-Staff writer Samantha Cronk can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 132, or twitter.com/scronkJN.
“EPTA to debut multiple ridership programs” The Journal 29 May 2014: B1

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