CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority is continuing its process of looking at public feedback on the proposed phase out of nearly a dozen different bus routes throughout the greater Kanawha Valley area and gradually working to finalize a decision on those proposed changes.

They met for a board meeting Thursday discussing the public feedback they have received so far on the changes, which includes the proposed eliminations of approximately 11 routes throughout Tyler Mountain, Elkview, South Hills among other areas KRT serves.

Sean Hill

KRT Executive Director Sean Hill said after the first meeting regarding the proposed changes that had drawn in over 90 public constituents and KRT passengers giving their feedback, they then opened up a survey that had generated about 448 responses, many of which expressing concern over the new proposal.

Hill said in an effort for KRT to be as transparent as possible throughout the transitionary time for the transportation service, they have also recently made a public comment portion on the changes available on their website so people can enter in their concerns.

“We’re going to do a lot more use cases, like if someone says they live in South Charleston and asking how they will be getting from point A to B, how does this impact me, because there’s a lot of information and misinformation also and we want to make sure we can calm some of those fears and explain case by case scenarios,” said Hill.

The changes at KRT comes as part of a comprehensive effort in determining high-demand routes from those that may be underperforming, and coming up with alternative solutions to the ones that don’t generate as many passengers. KRT stands that it’s a way to maximize effiiency while saving the organization money that the underperforming routes are costing them to make.

The 11 routes proposed for discontinuation include:

. Tyler Mountain

. Elkview

. Campbells Creek

. Sissonville

. Northgate off Greenbrier Street

. Wertz Avenue

. Beech Avenue

. South Hills

. South Park

. Fort Hill

. and Clendenin

KRT proposes that these routes be replaced by the KRTplus service, which will connect riders with the closest transit line through a KRT vehicle.

Hill said the proposed route eliminations could save KRT about $1.9 million.

In addition, a major part of the proposed changes are to adjust the times of the routes to make them all fall under one overall timeframe rather than have them be dispersed throughout multiple different timeframes as how it is currently.

The change would operate all of the routes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. High-demand routes would also operate every 30 minutes until 7 p.m. and every 60 minutes all day on weekends.

Two community members who came out to KRT’s May 31st public meeting who are concerned by the changes also spoke at the public comment period at Thursday’s meeting.

Lisa McCracken said she was there specifically representing the South Hills neighborhood. She was asking KRT to consider all of the senior citizens within that area that this would affect.

McCracken said seniors rely on the bus on a day-to-day basis and taking these routes away from them would hinder their independence.

“We work so hard to keep seniors in their home at the Kanawha County level, the city level, the State of West Virginia senior services to keep seniors in their homes longer, but a lot of times they have to give away the car keys and rely on the bus, and they live near a bus line or on a bus line, and so for them, the seniors, the bus line is critical,” said McCracken.

Betty Rivard is one of the senior residents who relies on the bus daily and who has also been a consistent voice at both of KRT’s meetings on the matter thus far. She said the proposed eliminations would completely alter her lifestyle.

“My trolley schedule wouldn’t allow me to live the life I’m living now, and that’s pretty shocking when you plan your life around a trolley schedule,” Rivard said.

Hill said right now, they are continuing to keep an open mind and continue to listen to public feedback. He said the changes won’t just happen overnight and will gradually be phased in.

Hill said KRT is aware of how this will be impacting residents who use the bus everyday and wants to remain as transparent as possible with them as the transition process goes along.

“The concept of any change is scary and I hope the more information we can get out about out potential scenarios and proposed changes will help alleviate some of those fears for the public, and help them realize, hey, we’re spending a lot of time and effort and energy to make this as easy as possible,” he said.

KRT plans to hold another public hearing on Thursday, July 11 at 5 p.m. at the Kanawha County Public Library regarding the changes.

Hill said they will then attempt to reach a more finalized decision at their board meeting on Thursday, July 25.

“We are compiling all of these comments for our board so that in anticipation of that July 25th meeting, they will have these all in front of them, they can read through the public’s comments,” he said.

Hill said the board may then decide at that meeting to either accept the proposal all together, make changes to it, propose something entirely different or take no action and push it back to an even later meeting.

Concerned residents and KRT passengers can visit KRT’s website and enter their public comments and take the survey within the Public Participation portal.

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