OVRTA Downtown Wheeling Trolley Will Get Rolling on Jan. 22
By CASEY JUNKINS
It will take the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority’s 24-passenger trolley for downtown Wheeling about 15 minutes to travel from 10th Street to 22nd Street and back, once it hits the streets at 7 a.m. Jan. 22.
The OVRTA board has committed $60,000 to test the looping shuttle service for a six-month period. The program’s intent is to assist employees of downtown and Center Wheeling businesses in traveling between the various parking garages and job sites in the area.
“We’re absorbing the cost up front to see what the demand is. No one knows what the demand is yet,” OVRTA Executive Director Tom Hvizdos said after a Wednesday meeting of the authority’s board. “This is a trial run to see how it works.”
Anyone with an OVRTA bus pass can ride the trolley. Standard fare for the trolley is $1.30, while those who are considered senior citizens or disabled can ride for 65 cents.
Recently, employees began moving into the new headquarters of The Health Plan, located in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets.Hvizdos said employees of The Health Plan will be allowed to ride by simply showing their company identification to the trolley driver. He will then bill the company for transporting its workers.
“Nobody is riding it for free,” Hvizdos emphasized.
City Manager Robert Herron, who also chairs the OVRTA board, said he plans to ask Williams Lea Tag, WesBanco and Ohio Valley Medical Center if they would be interested in contributing to the shuttle.
“I don’t know whether they will use it or not,” Herron said of these companies. “We need to see how well it works. If it works, there may be contributions at some point.”
The service will only be available Monday through Friday and will run at 15-minute intervals. The morning service will run from 7-9 a.m., while the afternoon shuttle will run from 4:05-6:05 p.m.
Herron said at this point, the 10th Street parking garage is basically full, largely due to Williams Lea Tag being in the nearby Stone Center. Also, the Center Wheeling garage is set to undergo $4 million worth of renovation work soon because Wheeling City Council agreed to the repairs as part of helping California-based Alecto Healthcare Services operate OVMC.
“We’re going to take about 33 percent of the capacity there at a time during the renovations,” Herron said.
The next OVRTA board meeting is set for 4 p.m. April 11 at the bus garage at 21 S. Huron St., on Wheeling Island.