By PHIL MAJOR
Additional public transit routes began operating last week in Wood County as a pilot project for GoBus.
The transit agency operates in a 14-county area of East Texas, including routes from Mineola to Tyler and on-demand service.
The new routes were developed following a request from Jarvis Christian College, near Hawkins, seeking transportation alternatives for students.
The service began operations on Wednesday, July, 3, and students took advantage of buses between the college and Mineola for shopping and other needs.
Melissa Cure, business development manager for GoBus, presented the new routes and other information about the agency at a public forum in Mineola on Monday.
She said GoBus will monitor ridership before making the scheduled stops permanent.
The summer schedule will run five days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting in the Hawkins area.
It will go to Mineola and Lindale on Wednesdays, Longview on Thursdays and Tyler on Fridays, with possible extended hours from 1-8 p.m. on Friday.
The fall schedule includes Mineola and Longview on Mondays, Longview and Tyler on Tuesdays from 1-8 p.m., Gilmer and Longview on Wednesdays, Lindale on Thursdays and Tyler on Fridays from 1-8.
Cure noted that GoBus is not just for seniors and the disabled, but is public transportation for anyone.
It already operates demand-response service inside Wood County on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and a Tyler trip on Thursdays.
Seniors, the disabled and veterans receive some free services (such as medical appointments and senior centers), and Cure said that the new service is also at no charge thanks to a partnership with the college.
Others pay a fare of $2 one-way to the first destination, with $1 for additional destinations and $2 for the return trip.
Demand service is curb to curb and can be scheduled by contacting the agency at 800-590-3371 with 24 hours notice.
Suggestions at the hearing included offering service to the Amtrak station and the Select Theater in downtown Mineola.
Cure also noted that the agency is securing a trolley, which will be available to rent.