Go Bus looking for a new home in Marietta

MARIETTA – Some changes are in the works for folks who use the Go Bus or Baron’s Bus lines in Marietta.

Wednesday was the final day that WASCO Inc. sold tickets for the bus lines at 165 Front St., and a new local passenger pick-up and drop-off location on Pike Street is under consideration.

“Right now we’re trying to coordinate that location with Go-Mart (on Pike Street near the Wal-Mart complex) – that would be our intention, but nothing has been finalized yet as we’re currently waiting to hear back from Go-Mart’s corporate office,” said Gordon Cooper, vice president of Cleveland-based Baron’s Bus Lines.

He said until the proposal with Go-Mart is finalized Baron’s Bus tickets can be purchased online or from the bus driver. Passengers will continue to be picked up or dropped off at 165 Front St. until the new location can be determined.

Chris Goebel, general manager for Lakefront Bus Lines in Columbus that operates the Go Bus route to Marietta, said that line will also cease service at the 165 Front St. location. But he added that the bus will continue to pick up and drop off passengers daily at the Marietta College parking lot at Seventh and Butler streets.

“We will also connect with Baron’s wherever their new stop is located,” Goebel said. “If it’s at Go-Mart passengers will be able to purchase tickets there, but in the meantime they can always buy Go Bus tickets online.”

Baron’s Bus Lines makes daily runs between Charleston and Cleveland, while the Go Bus route is between Marietta, Athens and Columbus.

Joe Faires, work services manager for WASCO Inc., said the organization has had a contract to sell bus tickets at its Heart to Art craft store on Front Street since 2009. Heart to Art was originally at 208 Front St., but earlier this year moved to 165 Front where the bus ticket sales have continued through Wednesday.

“We won’t be selling tickets after Wednesday, but the buses will still be able to pick up riders at Heart to Art through Aug. 7,” he said.

Faires said although the bus ticket contract provided some revenue for WASCO – the agency received 13 percent of ticket sales generated at the store – selling the bus tickets in addition to assisting WASCO clients with craftwork at Heart to Art was overburdening the store manager.

“We work with adults with disabilities, and one person working with those clients as well as selling bus tickets was just too much to handle,” he said.

Store manager Emily Maze-Rollison said the number of riders purchasing tickets varied day to day.

“There were some slow days, but on many days it seemed like we were constantly on the computer printing out tickets,” she said. “A lot of people from this area use the bus lines.”

On Tuesday morning Jami Wyckoff, a Marietta area native now living in Phoenix, Ariz., was boarding the Go Bus, headed to Port Columbus where she would catch a flight home.

“All of my family uses the Go Bus when we visit here. It’s only $15 from Columbus,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have any issue if the stop was relocated to Go-Mart. In fact it would be easier to access, and there’s more room for the buses to maneuver.”

Once the Armory Square project is completed, the business plan includes using the facility as a bus stop and ticket sales location for the Go Bus and Baron’s Bus Lines. The parking lot on the south side of the armory building has been designed to handle bus traffic, and a canopy was built to accommodate travelers waiting to board buses.