Bus bosses focus on getting workers to industrial parks

By Jennifer Learn-Andes and Roger DuPuis - [email protected]
- Roger DuPuis | Times Leader
- Roger DuPuis | Times Leader

With an influx of new warehouses, regional officials are increasingly focusing on connecting these facilities to public transportation.

Luzerne County Transportation Authority Executive Director Norm Gavlick pointed to the CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park in Jenkins and Pittston townships as an example, saying planning is underway for a new transfer station on Route 315.

A small-scale version of an intermodal center, the station would beef up existing bus runs by allowing more frequent and direct connections for park workers who reside in both the Wyoming Valley and neighboring Lackawanna County, Gavlick said.

In addition to the center, bus shelters would be set up throughout CenterPoint if Mericle Commercial Real Estate, the park’s developer, pursues and obtains a state Department of Transportation grant as expected, said Gavlick, who is assisting with the submission preparation.

To fulfill a required 30 percent local match, Mericle may provide land for the transportation enhancements and link them with a network of trails for workers who want to walk and bike, Gavlick said. CenterPoint has 49 tenants employing nearly 6,000.

Gavlick’s authority also has worked with the County of Lackawanna Transit System, known as COLTS, to synchronize fares and bus passes for riders accessing both county systems.

The demand for public transportation also has increased at the Hanover Industrial Estates in Hanover Township, largely due to the addition of online pet-supply retailer Chewy.com, Gavlick said.

After more than two decades, public transit service will return to the region starting Sept. 24, as LCTA inaugurates routes designed to get people to and from jobs after the daytime rush hour is long over.

LCTA’s five new night routes will bring passengers to and from the Hanover industrial Park, CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park, as well as Mohegan Sun Pocono casino.

Rides on the five new night routes will be free for the first 30 days of service, Gavlick said.

Hazleton area

Observing a need, Ralph Sharp said he started weekday bus routes to the Humboldt Industrial Park in 2013, a year after he became director of the Hazleton Public Transit, which serves the Hazleton area.

Running for 5 miles along Route 924 in Hazle Township, the massive Humboldt park has nearly 60 industries and more than 10,000 employees.

Sharp said the Humboldt runs are timed to coincide with the daytime first- and second-shift schedules of the employers. There are four, round-trip runs from the Church Street Station in downtown Hazleton to Humboldt between 5:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. and five runs between 12:05 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., Sharp said, noting the buses stop along routes to pick up people who flag them and drop off riders who pull a cord.

He also added two daily runs from Hazleton to Wilkes-Barre, all days except Sunday, traveling on Route 309 with stops at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township, the Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino in Plains Township and Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Sharp said. Departures from Hazleton are at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_photo.jpegRoger DuPuis | Times Leader

https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_image_50419969-1-.jpgRoger DuPuis | Times Leader

By Jennifer Learn-Andes and Roger DuPuis

[email protected]