The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 2, 2012

County's fault


Daily Item

---- — Last week, a press release was issued by Rabbittransit regarding their provision of shared ride transportation services in Northumberland County. That press release was issued pursuant to my request of Richard Farr, Executive Director of Rabbittransit, in order to apprise the many senior citizens, disabled citizens, and others who rely on this service in order to travel to appointments and actively participate in their communities.

After hearing the many complaints from citizens who rely on this service, I contacted Mr. Farr, and also reached out to PennDOT, the United Way, and some of our neighboring counties' commissioners and their transportation authorities.

The goal of these ongoing discussions has been both to identify the causes, and come up with solutions, to our current service problems, and to lay the groundwork for continued cooperation among all the players in order to gain more efficiency in our region's public transportation.

I am happy to say that everyone I spoke to has indicated their support for working together with Northumberland County to address our common transportation issues in what is an increasingly challenging environment.

It is important to note that Rabbittransit, a transportation authority based in York and Adams Counties, was sought out by PennDOT to help provide the citizens of Northumberland County with Shared Ride transportation services when the county rather abruptly decided to discontinue providing this much-needed service.

They had approximately two weeks to be up and running from the time their help was sought by PennDOT, and one cannot expect to conduct such a large and complicated transition in that timeframe and not have some issues along the way.

Many of the service issues arising from that transition are more a reflection of Northumberland County's poor planning at the time, rather than any weakness on the part of Rabbittransit.

With that being said, Mr. Farr has assured me of his commitment to work toward the resolution of the current issues we have, both from the transition and from their current software implementation. Our human services department heads and staff have also impressed me with their commitment to working constructively with both Rabbittransit and our neighboring Counties to ensure the continued improvement of this service for our residents.

We all look forward to updating county residents on a regular basis of the progress that is being made.

Richard J. Shoch,

Northumberland County Commissioner