Regional transit provider rebuilds
Director expecting to buy eight buses for about $1 million by December
SPRINGDALE — Ozark Regional Transit will begin replacing its destroyed bus fleet by the end of the year, the service’s director said Wednesday.
Director Joel Gardner told his board he expects to buy eight medium-sized buses by December for about $1 million, mostly from federal grants. The public transit provider lost 20 buses out of two dozen overall in a windwhipped fire in early January and has relied on loaner vehicles from other companies around the country to keep running.
The service hasn’t fully recovered from the event but is making progress, according to data presented Wednesday. Daily ridership fell from about 1,200 passengers at the beginning of the year to about 850 but has since made up most of the gap.
“We’re pushing forward every day,” Gardner said.
ORT provides a dozen commuter and all-purpose routes and a pick-up service for people with disabilities throughout Benton and Washington counties. Federal, county and city money and fees cover most of its revenue, chief financial officer Mindy Campbell said.