CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County intends to part ways with the Area Transportation Authority (ATA), according to Commissioner Chairperson Joan Robinson-McMillen. The commissioners have been voicing concerns and attempting to get answers from the ATA about its operations since June.
During a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting, Eric Bridges, executive director of the North Central Regional Planning & Development Commission, said as the Rural Planning Organization (RPO), he wanted to involve North Central in further discussions between the county and the ATA. In response after his presentation, Robinson-McMillen said she’d spoken with Amy Kessler, director of community development and regional planning for North Central. She said the commissioners intend to work closely with Kessler, as the county begins to part ways with the ATA and transitions to DuFast Transit. Robinson-McMillen told Bridges that Kessler will have “a seat at the table” throughout the process.
Robinson-McMillen explained she’d reached out to ATA officials at the beginning of the month to schedule a meeting and was told their schedule didn’t allow it at the time, and they’d get back to the county later in the month. County Solicitor Kim Kesner said he and Robinson-McMillen had attended the annual ATA meeting. Robinson-McMillen posed several questions, at which time Kesner said they were told their questions could be answered in an informal meeting, which still hasn’t been scheduled.
“They’re too busy,” said Robinson-McMillen.
During the meeting, resident Vicky Ward came in. Before adjourning, Robinson-McMillen asked if she had any public comment, which she did. She explained to the commissioners she wanted the ATA kicked out of Clearfield County, as she was to get on the bus at 10:10 a.m., which departs from the courthouse, to go to DuBois. However, Ward said the driver drove by her and so she’d have to wait until 12 p.m. to go to DuBois, a route that’s available once each month.
“The ATA has a bad habit of that,” said Ward. “Their buses are filthy; they never clean them. I ask that you guys secretively get on the bus one day and ride it around. Take a look for yourselves and see how they skip areas. I ask that you seriously consider DuFast or Centre County’s bus service.”
When asked by Commissioner John A. Sobel, Ward said the ATA busses pass by her or skip areas “a lot.” Robinson-McMillen said they have put the ATA on notice that it will be their last year with them. She said they will be looking for alternative transportation with DuFast Transit.