County Comment: New transit transfer center opens in Hagerstown
New transit transfer center opens in Hagerstown
By Sarah J., Lankford, Director, Department of Public Relations and Community Affairs
After seven years of collaborative efforts with State of Maryland and City of Hagerstown partners, Washington County is proud to announce the opening of the new Transit Transfer Center (TTC) on August 1st, at 6AM. The operation moved to the new TTC, located at 123 West Franklin Street from the old transfer point on West Washington Street. The more convenient and user-friendly location will now better serve the citizens of Washington County.
With bus ridership steadily increasing year over year, a Washington County Commuter Transfer Point Relocation Study was conducted in 2008. Results indicated the top priority was to create a transit center that was off-street and more convenient for its riders. Plans for final site identification and determining funding resources were conducted.
In 2009, when the Federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) became available, the TTC project was able to come to fruition much more quickly. With the County already owning the property the TTC is located on now, the County helped coordinate the project utilizing the ARRA funding resources before the expiration date of December 31, 2011.
The over $1.1 million TTC project was funded with $875,000 Federal ARRA stimulus grant money, as well as funding from State and local sources. Both Washington County and the City of Hagerstown applied for Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development - Neighborhood Conservation Initiative (NCI) and received a total of $248,500 in grant money.
The completion of this project speaks volumes about the power of strong partnerships between the State of Maryland, Washington County, and the City of Hagerstown. To help highlight the efforts of all partners involved in this seven-year project, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at a later date. Washington County will also recognize the hard work of the many County employees and their commitment to making this project happen.
Over the past two months, the Washington County Transit Department has been distributing information to its current ridership explaining new policies and procedures.
The TTC required the restructuring of the bus routes throughout the downtown area of the City of Hagerstown. One key change is that the Public Square bus stop has been eliminated; however, a bus stop at the intersection of W. Washington Street and Summit Avenue has been added giving bus service to every street corner within one block of the Public Square. Bus service is still available at the corner of West Washington Street and Walnut Street in the area of Walnut Towers.
To obtain bus tickets, riders will follow the current procedure of either acquiring them at the Washington County Transit Department Headquarters, located at 1000 West Washington Street or through the bus drivers. At a later date, the new TTC will have a manned Ticket Office where tickets can be bought and general information about the Washington County Transit System will be available.
For more information, including bus schedules and route information, please contact Washington County Transit Department - County Commuter at 240-313-2750 or visit www.washco-md.net/transit.
The Washington County Transit Department - County Commuter operates all of the general public transportation in Washington County. The County Commuter public transit system runs eight, fixed urban routes that originate in Hagerstown and offer service to Funkstown, Halfway, Long Meadow, Maugansville, Robinwood, Smithsburg and Williamsport. In addition, County Commuter provides transportation for the elderly and persons with disabilities through a ride assist voucher program, which is funded by the Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP). ADA Complementary Paratransit Service for individuals with disabilities who cannot access fixed-route service, along with Job Access in cooperation with the Washington County Department of Social Services, are also provided by the transit system. The urbanized fixed-route service carries the majority of the County's ridership. Total ridership averages over 400,000 passenger trips annually and total mileage for all programs is over 515,000 miles yearly.