Hop On Board Seniors Can Ride For Free To Make Holiday Shopping Easy
“All it takes is a free ID card from River Valley Transit, and seniors over the age of 65 can ride the bus anywhere for free,” announced Skip Cochran, marketing director.
Monday through Saturday, the bus comes to the Lycoming Mall from all points of the county including Jersey Shore. Known at the Tri-Town Connector, residents in Muncy, Montgomery and Hughesville can pick up the bus from various locations and come to the mall. From there they can transfer to a bus going to downtown Williamsport where the bus stops at the Trade and Transit Center.
The Tri-Town Connector Route was established January 6, 2003 with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Hughesville based on the need to connect rural communities with other destination points in the county. “Over 20,000 riders now use the Tri-Town Connector,” said Bill Nichols, administrative director of River Valley Transit.
In order to ride for free, Seniors can register for their Commonwealth ID card to use as a boarding pass at the administration office located in the Trade and Transit building on the corner of Pine and Third Streets. “Seniors who register will also get a redemption sticker card,” said Cochran. To register a driver’s license, birth certificate or Medicare card will be needed to get a membership card.
“All they have to do is show their membership every time they ride the bus, and the driver will give all seniors a bonus buck card,” added Cochran. They will be eligible for lots of incentives from local retailers and attractions.
Nevea Barber a senior citizen from Hughesville said, “It’s just wonderful. Sometimes I can ride the bus three or four times a day,” she said smiling as she boarded the Tri-town Connector heading home from an afternoon of shopping on Saturday at the Lycoming Mall. Barber said she was raised on a farm and growing up she couldn’t get around as easily as she can now.
The program is set up so that three bonus stamps are worth a cup of coffee or small soda in the Stearns Cafe located inside the Trade and Transit Center, and working up to a $20 gift certificate to the Lycoming Mall with 100 bonus stamps. The Pennsylvania’s Lottery Fund helps to pay for the program and other services can be added if there is a need according to Cochran.
A new service that was just added is the ‘Ride the Surplus Shuttle.’ This came as a result of a partnership through the efforts of the mayor of Montgomery and RVT to allow a route every Saturday to the Surplus Outlet on Route 15 South in Montgomery until December 12. All passengers will receive a “transfer” from the driver to write down name, address and phone number. This ‘transfer’ will then be placed in a special box at the Surplus Outlet to win a gift certificate. It will run between 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. which will be the last departure of the day from Surplus Outlet.
Seniors can also ride the Trolleys and Tour of Lights with their ID card.
“We are fortunate to be the third best in the state for overall operations,” said Cochran. “This includes approval ratings for cleanliness and on-time scheduling. We have very limited incidents and our drivers are well trained to assist with the elderly. They will always help with directions and information. If other stops are needed, upon request, drivers can make every attempt to stop as close as possible, as long as they don’t deviate from the fixed route.”
Safety is always an issue and accommodations for the handicap, such as a hydraulic ramp that shortens a step from the curb to the bus, and large comfortable seats are a pleasure for seniors who want to get around.
Extra scheduling will begin on Black Friday starting at 6 a.m. plus additional trips with the Tri-Town Connector Route which will now run every 30 minutes during the holiday hours. Extra triips will also be going downtown in Williamsport as well for shopping and the Holiday Light Trolley tours. Transfers can be made at the Lycoming Mall between Borders and Old Navy and near the Bon-Ton.
For a complete schedule of times and holiday bus routes visit www.rideRVT.com.