Town and Country Transit hires to boost revenue
Open driver positions have been filled at Town and Country Transit, resulting in an increase of shared-ride trips provided in-house.
Agency comptroller Patti Lynn Baker said yesterday during the board’s monthly meeting that the number of trips being assigned to vendors has decreased by 13 to 14 percent, which is a result of the hiring of new employees.
Baker said she expected to continue seeing an increase in trips being run by Town and Country employees — resulting in more revenue for the agency — through December and January. During October’s meeting, Baker told the board that the agency’s shortage of drivers had been costing about $35,000 more because of trips being subcontracted to Byers Taxi and Pittsburgh North Aire Ride.
General manager Scott Kloes said with the open positions filled, “we look like we can really start capturing the business back from our vendors.”
Other increases, Baker said, included fares for bus service.
“Since we haven’t had a fare increase, that’s probably a good thing” because it means more ridership, she said. According to financial documents provided to the board, Town and Country has collected about $1,200 more this year to date in bus fares compared to last year.
Also, a shared-ride program for people with disabilities hit a high mark last month with 397 trips, bringing in about $7,000. For the year to date, revenue from the program has totalled about $24,000, compared to $2,500 last year during the same time frame, according to financial documents.
“Every month we keep going up,” Baker said.
In total, the agency is making more money this year to date, than last year during the same time, she said. However, expenditures are higher compared to last year, but “not to the same degree,” Baker said.
“We are closing the gap,” she said, adding that it may be happening slower than agency employees and the board may hope.
In other business:
• Two bus shelters will be loaned from transportation agencies in Altoona and Cambria County until Town and Country has the funds to purchase its own. Board president Henry Mores asked Kloes to obtain the shelters from both companies for use in Ford City and Kittanning.
The shelter for Kittanning will be erected in front of the Armstrong County Health Center. A location in Ford City has not been determined, Kloes said. He hopes to have the structures before Thanksgiving.
Mores said the boroughs will have to do their own installation of the shelters.
• Kloes asked all board members to provide a contact person at their respective municipalities to which he can e-mail a copy of meeting minutes after they are approved by the board. Kittanning Council had requested a copy, which will be directed to the borough secretary, Kloes said.
Manorville already receives a copy of the minutes.
• Kloes plans to look into the availability of an additional bus for the shared-ride program for people with disabilities. When the program began at Town and Country, consultants who were with the agency then declined an available bus, but now it appears the authority could use the extra vehicle, Kloes said.
“(The program) is growing exponentially over what anyone thought it would be,” he said. “We’re really like to get the (program) bus if we can.”