Public transit coming

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:34

MILFORD - The vehicles are there, the need is growing, and Pike officials are looking at introducing a first step in public transportation for Pike County. Donna Falcone, transporation manager for the Pike County Area Agency on Aging has been appearing at local government meetings recently, asking for public input on a proposal that the agency expand its existing transportation services for seniors and persons with certain medical or mental health issues. A new Department of Transportation grant is already expanding that service to disabled persons, who had not been previously covered. With the county’s rapid growth, Falcone said she gets “five or six new people calling daily” for services. In addition to all that, the agency also wants to extend service to the general public, Falcone told the Milford Borough Council Monday evening. Logistically, the addition of some public service would not require extensive changes, since the agency’s 11 vehicles are regularly moving people back and forth between Matamoras and Milford. “Most of the medical providers are in the Milford area. We’re here constantly,” she said. The agency currently transports some 700 persons, running about 20,000 miles monthly Falcone said Agency Director Robin LoDolce has been meeting with county commissioners and chamber of commerce officials about the idea. Since then, the plan has quickly moved from “dream stages,” to planning for dry runs to initiate drivers to routes and stops along the three-lane corridor. The “loop” service would mostly use nine-passenger and larger vans. The agency has one 28-passenger bus, which would be available based on accessibility of stops for the larger vehicle. Identification cards would likely be issued to distinguish subsidized, free users, and partial-fee users. Service won’t necessarily be on a daily basis to begin and scheduled service is still some distance in future, but trial runs will begin in July, Falcone said.