CHAUNCEY, Ohio – A collaboration between Athens Public Transit and Athens City–County Health Department’s Creating Healthy Communities Grant Program will bring a bus shelter and designated stop to the village of Chauncey this year.
The shelter will be located on Sycamore Street, next to the post office parking lot, and will contain a bench and solar-powered lights.
Between 90 and 120 people board the Athens Public Transit Line 6 bus in Chauncey each month, according to Athens County Mobility Coordinator Bryan Hinkle, but the village doesn’t have a designated stop. Instead, Chauncey is a “hail zone” — people can catch the bus anywhere in the village by waving to catch the attention of the driver.
Currently, Chauncey’s post office is an informal bus shelter. People wait inside to avoid bad weather.
“Having a bus shelter will help riders know where to be, it will help the buses know where to stop and it will hopefully help educate the community about public transportation as well,” Hinkle said.
Most bus shelters are in the city of Athens, including at Baker University Center and on East State Street, but Hinkle does not know an exact number. He plans to conduct a bus stop audit to determine the number and placement of stops and shelters on all of Athens Public Transit’s routes.
The presence of shelters at bus stops correlates with increased ridership. Over a three-year period in Utah, the number of people who boarded public buses at stops featuring shelters, seating and signage was 141% higher than at stops without those amenities, according to research published by Science Direct in 2020.
“A shelter, in addition to providing a seat and an accessible space that has cover and shade, also provides visibility for transit as an option,” said Meredith Erlewine, Creating Healthy Communities grant coordinator with the Athens City–County Health Department.
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Early last year, Mayor Amy Renner approached Hinkle at a Athens County–City Transportation meeting about the village’s need for a bus shelter, Hinkle said.
But the plan to obtain and install a bus shelter was not formalized until later in 2022. Erlewine reached out to Hinkle about promoting public transportation through the state-funded and county-administered Creating Healthy Communities grant program.
Athens Public Transit had $11,000 of funding from Creating Healthy Communities to complete the bus shelter project, Hinkle said. The bus shelter would cost about $8,000 and the concrete to put it on would cost the same.
A donation of a bus shelter from the City of Athens made the project financially feasible.
In December, the concrete was poured for the floor of the shelter.
“Now as the weather is getting warmer, someone from Athens Public Transit will be installing the shelter itself,” Erlewine said.
The installation was planned for Monday, March 13, but inclement weather delayed progress. A new date has not been set yet.
“This will be the first bus shelter in the Village of Chauncey, so it’s super exciting,” Hinkle said.
Athens Public Transit runs bus routes through Athens, Albany, Nelsonville, Chauncey and The Plains. Buses and stops can be viewed in real-time on the DoubleMap website and app. Any Athens County resident wanting to learn more about public transportation options can contact Bryan Hinkle at 740-767-4500 or email@example.com.
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