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Bus service between county, Louisville begins new program

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By Alex Wimsatt

MOUNT WASHINGTON - This week marked a momentous occasion for those who have spent years advocating public transportation for the elderly, disabled and low-income people of Bullitt County .

On Monday community leaders and public transit advocates gathered at the Valu Market on Oakbrook Circle to commemorate the inaugural trip of the Bullitt County-Louisville Intercity Bus Service.

“This is a very proud day for Bullitt County,” said Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts during her opening remarks at the ceremony. “This county is large enough that we need public transportation within Bullitt County

and now we have it.”

Prior to the creation of the intercity bus service, the only public transportation available was through the Transit Authority of River City, which offered limited express service from Mount Washington and Shepherdsville to downtown-Louisville during mornings and evenings.

Now county residents can take advantage of public transit service in Bullitt and Jefferson Counties throughout the day with stops in many areas that TARC bypasses.

The Bullitt County-Louisville Intercity Bus Service operates Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with three round trips. Fare is $2 one way.

The first bus stop is Valu Market in Mount Washington. The bus then

proceeds west on Highway 44 stopping at the Norton Medical Center. From 44

the bus stops at the community college on Buffalo Run Road, followed by

stops on Highway 61 in Shepherdsville and Hillview before going into

Louisville.

Jefferson County service includes stops at the Louisville International

Airport, Jewish, Norton and University of Louisville Hospitals, the

Greyhound bus terminal, Fourth Street Live and the Commonwealth Convention

Center.

The service was made possible through the Louisville WHEELS Transportation

program and its CEO Beecher Hudson, who secured funding from WHEELS, the

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Federal Transit Administration to

pay operational costs and $47,500 for the brand new bus.

The bus has the capacity to hold up to 16 people at one time, with seating

for 10, and space for two wheel chairs.

Roberts encouraged everyone to take advantage of the service, but she said

it was geared toward the elderly, disabled and low income who have limited

means of transportation.

Hudson said he hoped it would be possible to expand service to multiple

buses and more round trips in the future. However, he said that would

depend on funding and need.

“This is almost a pilot project to show how we’ll do,” Hudson said.

State Rep. Linda Belcher, who was on hand for the inaugural bus trip, said

she was very pleased to see the service in the county, adding that she

wanted to see public transit expanded even more.

“We know there’s a need here,” Belcher said. “I hope people will take

advantage of this service.”

Leah Smith, who owns Alternative Adult Day Health Care Centers in Mount

Washington and Hillview, said it was about time there was low-cost public

transportation in Bullitt County for the elderly and disabled.

Smith said her mother, Martha Ferguson, had worked since the 1980s to

expand public transit in the county.

“This has been an ongoing issue for decades,” Smith said. “Our voices were

finally heard.”

Roberts gave credit to Smith, WHEELS, Bullitt County Public Schools, TARC,

the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency, the Shepherd’s

Shelter, the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce and others involved with

the Bullitt County Public Transportation Committee for getting the service

started.

“When you empower the people good things happen,” Roberts said.

Alex Wimsatt

Staff Writer, Photographer

The Pioneer News