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Butler area transportation is marking the end of an era

December 16, 2017 Letters to the Editor

I am writing to alert Butler County residents that we have reached the end of an era for bus transportation on the State Route 8 corridor that began in the early 1960s.

Since then, all Butler County residents, myself included, have taken for granted this bus transportation route and the availability of bus travel between Pittsburgh and Butler County on a weekday basis.

I began using the bus in 1980, when I started college in Pittsburgh. I continue to use it on a daily basis to commute to work in Pittsburgh, along with a number of Butler County residents. Over the years, we have forged many friendships with people from Butler and Allegheny County, both young and old, and from all walks of life. Sometimes there are people who routinely ride, but only sporadically; sometimes there are people you recognize from Butler but you do not know; sometimes there are people you never see again. The seniors ride free, and the transportation for shows, shopping and medical appointments is tremendously helpful to them.

It has come to the point where none of us can take this transportation for granted any longer. Myers Coach Lines, which has provided the service since 2000, when it took over from Blue & White/Lincoln, announced this past week that it will no longer be providing bus service to the Route 8 corridor. Friday was its last day. Thankfully, Butler County Commissioners Kevin Boozel, Kim Geyer and Leslie Osche, without regard to political affiliation, have graciously accepted and returned calls from concerned regular Myers Bus riders to answer questions about the new Butler County Transit Authority and its new runs down the State Route 228/I-79 corridor, which begins Monday.

A brochure from the Butler County Transit Authority and information about the new bus schedule are available on its website. If you have trouble finding it, go to the Butler County Commissioners’ website. There is a link.

John Paul, the executive director of the Butler County Transit Authority, has been very helpful to riders in explaining matters. I also understand that state Rep. Brian Ellis has been very involved in helping to preserve a necessary transportation artery to Pittsburgh from the Butler County Transit Authority. I am sure that other representatives and senators, as well as township and city officials past and present, have been vital in creating this transportation option.

We routine riders are very grateful to these hard-working individuals, who are to be commended for working, without regard to politics, to make sure that no person in Butler County is left without a ride to Pittsburgh when Monday rolls around. They had been planning the new Butler County Transit Authority buses and runs to Pittsburgh, and only on Friday, Dec. 1 learned that Myers was discontinuing its bus service to Pittsburgh. We appreciate the pressure under which these individuals are working to create a bus service that will accommodate the need.

So, to the people in Butler County who need bus service to Pittsburgh, this goes out to you: please let your commissioners, state representative and state senator hear your voice. Putting it in writing is helpful; use their e-mail addresses. There are matters of funding from PennDOT that are involved. If the political representatives can prove the need, they can, hopefulIy, get funded for more runs. If we do not ride the new service and think that it will be there when we need it — it won’t be. Use it now, and let your representatives in government know your needs so that they can speak for you.

Finally, I would like to commend the Myers bus lines and its drivers for the excellent service it provided Butler County for almost 20 years. It is the sad end of an era and a new beginning.