WEIRTON The Weirton Transit Corp. continues to see increased ridership, although the cold weather this winter has taken its toll.
Ridership was up by 2,270 passengers during the final six months of 2013, according to officials, compared to the same time in 2012. After a small loss in December and a small increase in January, ridership for February is up by 270 people.
"For the month of January alone we lost about 670 school students because of snow days," Kevin Beynon, transit manager, explained. "But we were only down 201 people for the entire month, so not counting the snow days we were actually up 400 and some. So ridership is way up."
Beynon informed members that the barrage of winter storms also kept him from attending the West Virginia Public Transit Association Legislative Reception in Charleston on Feb. 5.
In new business, members discussed the delays as a result of upcoming construction projects on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Colliers Way bridge and Cove Road, amongst others.
"We're just trying to let the public know that we'll do the best we can, but there will be delays," Beynon said. "And you have to remember, we run into the construction twice on every trip, there and back. We're just asking everyone to be patient."
Deviations from the main route have become a huge factor in the speed of service as well.
"We are completely saturated as far as deviations go," Brian Maley, newest WTC board member commented.
Zig-zagging back and forth through residential areas takes up a significant amount of time for WTC bus drivers, board members explained, and often the passengers who do not require deviations end up running late because of the added mileage. One solution being considered is raising prices for passengers who require deviation from the primary route. This would, officials believe, encourage customers to walk closer to the main route. Another possible answer involves setting up fixed loops in residential neighborhoods, meaning that rather than going directly to a customer's home, drivers could stay on a primary route for each neighborhood or zone and passengers could walk a short distance to meet the bus there.
Members also received a draft of a budget for the upcoming fiscal year to review and edit before presenting it to city officials. They agreed to brainstorm on the issues with deviations and the budget draft until they are addressed again at next month's meeting.
In other business, the WTC recognized board member Clemmie Frierson for her efforts putting together and keeping up with a monthly newsletter.
(Dalrymple can be contacted at email@example.com)