TAWC Buses at Forefront of Commissioners Discussion

Photo Transit Authority of Warren County.

WARREN, Pa. – The Transit Authority of Warren County (TAWC) was the subject of a healthy discussion during Monday’s Warren County Commissioners work sessions.

Specifically, the question has been raised as to whether TAWC needs full-length buses (Gillig’s) or smaller busses that carry 16 passengers.

The discussion centered around a county match of $25,204 that the commissioners agreed to two years ago but never formally approved.

“The buses were put in circulation two years ago,” stated Commissioner Jeff Eggleston. “At the time, there was a miscommunication in terms of what the situation was with the match.”

Commissioners Eggleston and Ben Kafferlin asked TAWC representatives if there could be some sort of compromise that may be cheaper.

The $25,204 was part of a $1 million investment to replace three of the full-sized buses in 2020.

“I think we can justify the big buses,” Kafferlin said. “The question is, is there some sort of a compromise that might be cheaper.”

TAWC Board member Grace Wright addressed that concern.

“The state seems to have a position that they don’t want transit authorities having mixed groups of buses,” Wright said. “Logic seems to be that the maintenance staff in any transit authority will not do a safe, adequate job if they’re working on multiple different types of buses. The other thing, there’s a policy that you buy the bus for your largest demands. We do have demands, not all the time, but at times for more than 16 passengers, which is what the next size down is. The shelf life is six years for the smaller busses and 15 for the bigger buses.

The cost of the larger buses is $400,000 and the smaller buses are $100,000, but the difference in the shelf life would help offset the expense of the bigger buses.

“Everyone here supports public transportation,” Eggleston said. “One of the things that I was thinking of is to have somebody come in and do a thorough evaluation of the utilization of the buses and definitively state one way or the other as to what is best. That would be grant-funded. For the long-term viability of the transportation system, that needs to be answered, because that question will keep coming up.”

Both the review and the match for the buses are expected to be discussed as part of Wednesday’s regular meeting agenda.