Making the case for public transportation in Blair County

by Eric Wolf, General Manager

Monday, March 5, 2007 | Categories:

When you work in the public sector, it’s always part of your job to justify your agency’s existence to elected officials and to taxpayers. That’s okay because public transit can make a compelling case.

AMTRAN carries 1,100 people a day. (That’s not including the students we carry for Altoona School District.) Of those 1,100 people, 25% use the bus to get to work.

Working Families

Many of our customers are working families. Mom and Dad both have jobs, but there’s only one car. One of them drives the car to work. The other one takes the bus. These families will be hurt by the proposed service cuts.

Retail Employees

It is a fact that retail is a major component of the Blair County economy. Retail employees are AMTRAN customers. Check out the #1 Eldorado and #10 Night Owl buses as they leave Logan Valley Mall after it closes nightly filled with store employees on their way home.

All bus service after 6:00 p.m. will be eliminated if the proposed cuts go through.

Senior Citizens

When your parents or grandparents can no longer drive, do you want them to be completely dependent on you for grocery shopping and doctors’ appointments? Or would you like to see them retain their independence and ride the bus when and where they like?

Many of our seniors will become dependent and isolated if these service cuts are implemented.

In Conclusion

I like working in public transit because what we do matters. We’re not some fancy Madison Avenue advertising firm using smoke and mirrors to sell junk that people don’t need. We make a difference in people’s lives every day, day after day.

So, do you want our region’s working people to be able to get to their jobs? Do you want our area stores and restaurants to be able to hire good employees? Do you want our senior citizens to be self-reliant and independent? If you do, then public transit must be an integral and irreplaceable component of Blair County’s transportation infrastructure