The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wahkiakum on the Move showing growth

New routes continue to increase

 

Rick Nelson

Wahkiakum on the Move ridership is growing, program coordinator Camille Goldsmith said Tuesday.

Wahkiakum County's transit service has slowly grown and expanded since it was formed in 2004, system operators said Tuesday.

Wahkiakum on the Move has grown from service three days a week with one bus and two drivers to six days a week with runs between Naselle and Kelso with four buses, three vans and 11 drivers.

The service added new routes, including Saturday service, last October, and ridership is growing, program coordinator Camille Goldsmith reported to the board of county commissioners.

The routes and days of service are:

--Monday-Friday, Cathlamet/Naselle/Kelso;

--Monday-Friday, local routes in Skamokawa, Cathlamet and Puget Island, and

--Saturday, Cathlamet/Kelso.

The service provides medical transportation to people who are Medicaid eligible. Funding from the Human Services Council finances medical transportation; funding from the Washington State Department of Transportation finances the regular routes.

There is a hole in funding, Goldsmith said--there has been no funding for buying buses since 2014.

"Our buses are starting to cost more in maintenance than what we can afford," she said.

She added that she would soon ask for commission approval to apply for a grant to purchase new buses, and commissioners by consensus immediately authorized her to apply for the funding.

Commissioner Mike Backman suggested posting notices in Longview where the bus stops. For example, at the Fred Meyer stop, there's no indication of where to catch the bus, he said.

Commissioners also suggested Goldsmith consult with county Treasurer Tammy Peterson about checking the Washington state surplus list for possible acquisitions.

Local ridership this year hit 519 persons in January, 386 in February, 468 in March and 537 in April, Goldsmith said.

From November, 2017, through April, 2018, total ridership increased from approximately 110 to 210. Saturday ridership hit 25 persons in November, 11 in January 36 in March and 21 in April.

Yearly medical ridership has increased from 11 in 2007 and 520 in 2008 to 2,762 in 2017.

 

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