Wichita Falls receives grant to improve public bus transportation

Wichita Falls receives grant to improve public bus transportation

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Mary Reid, a local bus rider, believes the current public bus transportation system in Wichita Falls is not as convenient as it can be.
    "It would be good if they could fix it to where they run every half hour," Reid said. "Because there's a lot of people that come out here and they get their shopping done within 30 minutes and then are ready to go home."
City officials know that. 
That is why they put in long hours to get a nearly 1.4 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Jenny Stevens, Travel Center Supervisor, agreed about improving waiting times for a ride.
    "It's an hour headway time," Stevens said. "If we can reduce that, it makes travel time for these people trying to get to work, the mall, or any place in town shorter. It makes it easier for them to travel."
The city applied for the competitive grant in the past and were denied.
But recently they were one of three Texas communities to receive the funds following 284 applications.
It will provide four new buses by the middle of 2018, allowing expansion on current routes and adding another near Sheppard Air Force Base for those that come in with the military.
There is one thing Reid would like to see changed with the new buses.
    "If they can get them to put at least four handicap chairs on one bus, that would be a lot of help," Reid said.
Stevens agrees and believes if people stay patient, they will benefit.
    "We have some big plans for the next ten or fifteen years and if people just stick with us and ride Falls Ride, they will know things are changing," Stevens said. "Adding more routes and more buses will make life a lot easier for them."
Stevens said the city will be applying for transportation department credits to cover the local funding match.
That means the new buses will be 100 percent funded without local tax payer dollars.
Stevens adds there are so many opportunities for grants once the T.O.D. study takes off.

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