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Waco: Rural transit service draws more riders than expected

(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 3, 2017 at 6:18 PM CDT
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Waco Transit’s new rural transit program has served more riders than expected, officials said Monday.

The transit system took over McLennan County's portion of the rural bus program last summer, which was run by the Heart of Texas Council of Governments.

The city says, it's found a more efficient way of running the program to meet the needs of more residents.

From February 2016 to February 2017 Waco Transit served 1,457 rural riders.

“Ridership is doing well. If you look at February last year to February this year, we saw about a 44 percent increase in ridership. So ridership continues to grow and we're continuing to evaluate how we're providing that service,” Waco Transit General Manager John Hendrickson said.

Because Waco Transit has several programs and drivers, it can consolidate routes.

If one bus is in an area where a resident needs a ride, instead of having a different bus come pick them up, the vehicle already in the area can provide the service.

For $3 a rural customer can travel anywhere in the county.

For $5 a rural customer can travel anywhere in the neighboring county.

The service is also provided on Saturdays.

"So somebody needs to get to work, or to school, or to the beauty salon, or shopping, the McLennan County Rural transit district is ready willing and able,” Hendrickson said.

The next step for the program is possibly a partnership with C-3 to transport employees in McGregor.

The contract would be similar to an existing deal Waco Transit has with Sanderson Farms through which workers are picked up from the city of Mart and driven to Waco.

The business would help pay for the service to help keep costs low and the service high for rural McLennan County Residents.

Right now, Hendrickson said the program is self-sustaining.

Bus fares, state and federal funds help support it.

To schedule a ride 254-750-1620.