Middletown gets 5 new buses for $2.3 million

Longer buses will hit the road in November.

Five older buses in the Middletown Transit Services fleet will be replaced by five new ones that are longer and more environmentally friendly in mid-November.

Kyle Fuchs, Middletown’s community revitalization director, said the five new 2016 Gillig transit buses have been delivered. Fuchs said drivers and maintenance employees are being trained by Butler County Regional Transit Authority on how to drive and service the 33-foot buses.

“The new buses are five feet longer than the 2002 28-foot buses being retired,” said Rob Griffin of BCRTA. “The additional length is a big difference.”

Griffin said the new buses have the latest technology for low-emissions and other engine-related features. He said the buses use a diesel exhaust fluid that captures carbon from escaping into the environment. Griffin also said the buses use a different type of anti-freeze and transmission fluid.

The new buses also feature wider doors to make them more accessible for the disabled as well as several upgraded security cameras on-board.

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Middletown Transit Service purchased five new 33-passenger buses and will put them into service after drivers are trained to operate them. The city plans to retire most of the old buses and keep one as a spare/reserve bus. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF (Staff Writer)

The new buses can carry 33 riders seated and more can ride standing up, he said.

Fuchs said the five city-owned new buses cost more than $2.23 million — with federal grants covering 80 percent of the costs and the state and city each contributing 10 percent of the costs. The buses are owned by the city.

The city owns two smaller nine-passenger para-transit buses, one is a 2010 model and the other is a 2007 model. Fuchs said the city is planning to replace them in the coming year. In addition to the five 2002 buses being retired, a sixth will be retained for limited service or as a back-up.

BCRTA oversees the transit service on behalf of the city, he said. Fuchs said the operating costs were between $1.6 and $1.7 million a year in 2015 and said the estimated budget has not changed for 2016.

“Middletown Transit Service has its own employees that drive the routes,” Fuchs said. “However, BCRTA handles the scheduling of the employees, training and overall administration for the city. It’s an excellent partnership in that we can get more for our dollar by partnering with them and creating routes to connect Middletown with other cities like Hamilton and Oxford.”

The city operates four bus routes and operates a free weekday shuttle bus with Atrium Medical Center and BCRTA around the Towne Mall/Atrium Medical Center campus. The city also operates several special routes as well.

“The main reasons a transit service is important is it provides access to jobs, healthcare, and education,” Fuchs said. “Citizens need to be able to get back and forth to work so they can provide for themselves and their families. Many employers have job openings they are trying to fill, but just can’t get any people who will show up. Many times it is due to a lack of transportation….. Our transit service is an important tool to fill those needs.”

Middletown Transit Service 2015 Ridership

City Routes

Red Line: 5,496 passengers

Blue Line: 8,998 passengers

Green Line: 11,467 passenger

Gold Line: 8,859 passengers

Special Routes - 2015 Monthly Average - 2016 August average

R1 Middletown Hamilton: 1,202 - 1,207

R2 Middletown Oxford: 1,017 - 605

Middletown Night Service: 8,6 73

MTS Contracted ADA: 299 365

*Atrium Shuttle: 133 (3 months) - 199

SOURCE: Middletown Transit Service

*Atrium Shuttle began October 2015

Middletown Bus Fares

Current fare:

Bus Passes

Single Fare - $1.25, 40-Ride Bus Pass - $50 - Available at the Citizen’s Service Center in the City Building lobby. There is no expiration date and passes can be used at any time.

Senior Citizens/Disabled/Medicare Card Holder Discount Rate - Single Fare - 60 cents, 40-Ride Bus Pass - $24.

Para-transit Services/Specialized Transit Service

Those with special needs may qualify for curb to curb transportation service on a wheelchair accessible bus.

Fare is $2.50 each way.

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