Athens Public Transit Launches New Bus Line

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Athens Public Transit is launching a new bus route that will serve residents in the western areas of Athens County. 

Bus line seven will start August 1. It will start at the John Calhoun Baker Center (on the Ohio University – Athens campus) and will run residents through Albany and Nelsonville. It will be free to everyone for the first day.

Hocking Athens Perry Community Action held two ribbon cutting ceremonies Wednesday at Center Albany and at the Nelsonville Public Library that consisted of speakers and a model of the new bus. 

It is estimated the new route will provide transportation for up to 20,000 residents, according to Carolyn Conley, division director at HAPCAP. 

“We saw a need county wide for transportation and we wanted to be able to fill that gap,” Conley said. “The pilot was the best way to go because it gives us an opportunity to see what the ridership is, the desire to use the route, how many passengers we will be able to transport, and then make a case to increase funding for it.” 

The new route is funded from a variety of social service agencies and the county commissioners, enough to run for the next six months. 

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson, who was at the ribbon cutting in Nelsonville, says the new routes have the potential to change lives.

“I was talking about this ribbon cutting and this person who was serving the coffee looked at me and said, ‘huh, there’s a bus route now that’s going to go from Athens to Nelsonville?’” Patterson said. “She looked at me and she said ‘I could have finished my degree at Hocking College had that system been around a year ago.’”

Patterson says the woman told him she’s looking into riding the bus to Hocking College to take classes again.

“It is opening up that level of accessibility for people to get from point A to point B,” he said.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony another anonymous resident who attended the ceremony shared how the new route will give her the opportunity to transport her with her children and stroller. 

Athens Public Transit officials say it will cost a dollar and if you’re a student you can ride for free with your Bobcat pass.

One bus will have a “7A” sign that will stand for the Albany locations and a “7N” sign that will stand for the Nelsonville locations.

“We are so excited about this line seven starting, Mondays through Fridays. It’s going to run from 6:45 am starting at Baker Center on Mulberry street,” Mary Dailey, Athens Public Transit coordinator said.

She added in the beginning stages, there aren’t specific stops for each route, but residents can flag down the bus when they see it on route.

This way Athens Public Transit can get a survey of where to place the best stop locations for the community.  

“Providing this service you’re really opening up opportunities for people to travel to the city of Athens for work, for doctors appointments to access other services,” Conley said. “It’s also really important for people to be able to leave the city of Athens to go out to other communities in the area.”