/Planes, trains and the Blue Water Transit?
Photo by Evan McCausland

Planes, trains and the Blue Water Transit?

The 2011 fiscal year has been tremendous for the Blue Water Area Transit.

Serving the City of Port Huron, Marysville and Fort Gratiot Township, not only have they celebrated their 35 year anniversary this past September, but according to the News Advisory for the BWAT, the transit’s ridership activity has jumped 43% from 2007, with an 11% increase for just this year alone.

Photo by Evan McCausland
Photo by Evan McCausland

One obvious cause of this increase is the drooping local economy and the constant increase in gas prices. The transit system has even helped promote the annual National Dump the Pump day where for some, only public transit systems will be used.

Another cause is the transit’s systems expanded service hours that better accommodate work schedules. These new service hours include evening service Mondays thru Thursdays until 11:00 p.m., late night weekend service Friday and Saturdays until 3 a.m., weekday morning service starting as early as 5:15 a.m. on demand and even offers dial-a-ride service in Fort Gratiot, Burtchville and Port Huron Township.

According to American Public Transportation Association, this replacement of self-driven vehicles is saving riders a significant $819 a month.

The American Public Transportation Association’s President, William Millar, states that investing more in public transportation will better prepare them for the larger demand now, and what will occur when the recession ends.

For instance, the federal State of Good Repair Program awarded BWAT a $6.86 million grant for a proposed transit hub. It was also among 300 competitive discretionary grants totaling more than $900 million to rebuild and renovate America’s transit infrastructure. Specifically, $46.7 million was awarded to Michigan transit agencies.

According to FTA, these grants will “put people to work by building needed transit facilities and by putting more clean-fuel buses on the road.” This providing many economic favorable changes is a start in the right direction that many residents have been patiently longing for.

Meghan Grady

Staff Writer