WESTON, WI (WSAU) - Options for Weston's future bus route were unveiled yesterday. Transit Director Greg Seubert presented two possibilities to Wausau, Weston, Schofield, and Rothschild officials.
Seubert says, “We presented two basic route designs. Now we'll initiate a dialogue and find the numbers and see where we end up.”
The new Route “K” adds up to nearly 53-thousand annual miles depending upon which option is selected.
One scenario would provide Weston with a direct route from downtown Wausau, and the other would incorporate stops in Schofield and Rothschild.
Weston's cost will be around $103,400 if Schofield and Rothschild participate in the program. That cost rises to about $117,078 if Weston alone partners with Wausau Metro Ride.
Seubert says there are pros and cons to each proposed route. “From a customer perspective, the direct connection to downtown is a great thing and it provides them less uncertainty, but the bad thing about that proposal is it doesn't serve Schofield and Rothschild.”
If the new Weston bus route is to include stops in Schofield and Rothschild, Seubert says compromises have to be made to keep the bus on schedule. He says, “The other scenario did serve Schofield and Rothschild but we had to move the transfer point further south which means if your traveling into the city of Wausau, you may have multiple transfers to travel that distance so there's that additional uncertainty and additional inconvenience with that, so it's kind of a trade-off.” The proposed transfer point would be at North Central Health Care Center.
Seubert says both route scenarios would provide twelve trips a day, and would require an hour to run from Wausau to St. Claire's Hospital and back.
Re-establishing that bus route also means re-establishing para-transit service within three-quarters of a mile of the regular bus route for riders with mobility issues, which Seubert says is included in his initial cost estimates. “Half of our trips overall in the system had an origin or destination in Rothschild, Schofield, or Weston so there certainly is a demand there and we did anticipate it in the budget numbers we provided.”
That budget proposal also took into consideration anticipated cuts in state and federal transportation dollars. Seubert projected around forty-nine percent funding from these sources, which in the past has provided around fifty-five percent of the operating budget.
Weston residents voted this past spring to re-establish bus service.