Increasing Use Of OVRTA Buses

Instead of looking at bus service to The Highlands as a burden, perhaps members of the Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority should view it as an opportunity. That is the opinion of Ohio County Commissioner Tim McCormick, who also is a member of the OVRTA Board.

We agree. As McCormick has noted, a substantial number of area residents seem to want bus service to The Highlands. That may well translate into an OVRTA run with more riders than patronize some of the bus company’s current routes.

Use of OVRTA buses has decreased by about 11.3 percent during the past year. Ridership on some bus routes has dropped even more than that. Clearly, OVRTA officials need to take a new look at bus routes, with the goal of using resources in a manner that serves the public best. That should translate to more riders — and more revenue for OVRTA.

As we have stressed previously, OVRTA’s responsibility is a complicated one. Some municipalities served by the bus company have tax levies in place to support OVRTA. That means that bus company officials need to place a priority on serving residents of those municipalities. But, again as we have pointed out, that does not necessarily mean restricting bus service to communities with levies. Residents of those areas may want bus routes taking them elsewhere, including The Highlands.

OVRTA Board members have agreed to consider a bus route serving The Highlands — but details of any proposal to do so have yet to be finalized. At the same time, Ohio County commissioners have said that they are looking into the possibility of establishing a separate bus service to transport passengers to The Highlands.

Economies of scale would seem to indicate that OVRTA could provide Highlands bus service at a cost less than what commissioners would have to pay. And, again, OVRTA should reevaluate its routes in light of decreased ridership.

We encourage OVRTA Board members, then, to look at a Highlands bus run from the standpoint of providing a new route that could be a winner, both in terms of serving the public and of bringing in revenue.