MOVTA considers adding Kmart stops

PARKERSBURG – The Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority met Tuesday to discuss the addition of a route to Kmart plazas in south Parkersburg and Vienna.

Tim Thomas, general manager of the MOVTA, said since taking his position he has heard numerous requests for buses to travel to the Kmart plaza areas in both cities.

“Something that has bugged me ever since I started here was why we weren’t going to the Kmart shopping centers,” Thomas said. “We have had positive feedback so far.”

The Rayon Drive route would extend into the Division Street Kmart and Kroger.

The Vienna bus coming from Jefferson Avenue would enter into the plaza in the 800 block of Grand Central Avenue and continue on to Wal-Mart across the street.

Thomas said Parkersburg and Vienna would be willing to work with the buses to establish permanent bus stops for the heavily used routes.

“We have met with both cities and they are all receptive,” he said. “The city of Parkersburg is even looking to help us, as well as Vienna, come up with how everything is going to be paid for.”

Paul Thornton, MOVTA board member, said the city of Vienna purchased recycled benches for the bus stops.

“It would only be in the most congested areas,” Thomas said. “We are purchasing only the signs and some places still can be flag stops.”

Routes that would benefit from the permanent stops, Thomas said, would include Murdoch Avenue, Grand Central Avenue to 37th Street in Vienna, in front of Parkersburg High School, up St. Marys Avenue and down Seventh Street into the city limits.

In other Easy Rider business, bus service hours are set to be extended during the Thanksgiving and holiday season through Dec. 23.

“I’m only asking for approval to extend the hours on Fridays and Saturday until 8 p.m.,” Thomas said.

He said the cost to extend the hours for the buses would be around $7,500.

“We think it could be beneficial to everyone in Parkersburg and Vienna; every route would have two extra runs,” Thomas said. “The half-hour routes would have about four extra runs.”

Thomas said the public working until 5 p.m. can use the extra hours to do holiday shopping and ride the bus home afterward.

Ridership for the buses increased by about 15 percent for September 2013 compared to September 2012. Belinda Fetty, vice president for the transit authority, recognized the improvement.