CamTran restores service to seniors

Upset riders launched campaign to bring back rides to Bedford, Somerset counties

CamTran service for senior citizens is being restored to popular locations in Bedford and Somerset counties.

The collective voice of upset senior riders has been heard, according to state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Johnstown.

Burns and the Cambria County Transit Authority announced Wednesday that CamTran will restore shared-ride bus service to parts of Bedford and Somerset counties starting Monday.

CamTran agreed to restore its Reserve-a-Ride service for riders to travel to the most popular destinations in Bedford and Somerset counties, including the Mountain Playhouse, Flight 93 National Memorial, Coal Miners’ Cafe, Fisher’s Country Store and Ridge Top and Boyer orchards.

Earlier this year, CamTran eliminated shared-ride service in all but Cambria and Blair counties in an effort to concentrate service in the areas where agency officials said the majority of its 57,000 annual shared rides went.

The restoration of service to parts of Somerset and Bedford comes after months of advocacy by Burns — whose office collected 1,425 signatures on a petition to restore shared-ride service — as well as the impassioned speeches of senior citizens who packed a Cambria County commissioners meeting in September to plead for service restoration.

Joanne Fisher of Patton helped collect signatures and attended the September meeting. On Wednesday it paid off.

“We are ecstatic. It’s never over until the fat lady sings, and she sang today. We are just so excited about it. You should see the people who depend on the services. … They are people who barely get around — the look on their faces when they can go on these trips and see the displays at the Flight 93 National Memorial,” Fisher said. “Their families don’t have time to take them on these trips. Without this service, they’d be sitting in their house and doing nothing. It helps their minds and helps them to grow.”

A statement from Burns commended the seniors.

“I was proud to stand with our senior citizens, whose relentless passion drove this compromise,” he stated. “We can never underestimate the determination of our seniors to fight for what they deserve.”

The service restoration is the result of a meeting among Burns and officials from CamTran and PennDOT held at Burns’ Harrisburg office Sept. 27.

A statement from Rose Lucey-Noll, executive director of CamTran read: “As a result of listening to our riders, we took another look at the more popular out-of-county destinations. I was very pleased that we were able to work together to reach a resolution for limited expansion back to the top Reserve-a-Ride out-of-county destinations.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.