CALIFORNIA, Pa. (KDKA) — A bus stop change is making residents at a senior apartment building in Washington County very upset.
Many of them have trouble getting around, and now that the bus stop has been moved, many say the change is dangerous.
One hundred feet is the approximate difference between where the bus stop was, right in front of the apartment building, and where it is now, at the street corner. Many of the residents who spoke to KDKA News say that 100 foot change just isn’t safe.
Going places for many residents at California Liberty Towers in Washington County is hard any day. Many fixed income seniors there have mobility issues or disabilities.
“And now it is making it a hard time for all the residents to get to and from where they need to go,” resident Robert McCoy said.
McCoy is leading the charge to get the bus route changed back.
“I need the bus to be here so I can get on it. To go to Walmart, to go to Belle Vernon, Charleroi, anything,” resident Sandy Kirkpatrick said.
For Kirkpatrick and others who need wheelchairs and walkers, the change in the public bus route is one to which they cannot adjust. For years, the bus came to the Towers’ front door, but now comes down the sidewalk and around the corner.
“It’s just too far, even in my chair,” Kirkpatrick said.
The distance is also the difference between getting out and staying in for some residents.
“I’m also in a wheelchair when I have to leave here, and if I have to get on a bus, I can’t. Like Ms. Sandy said, you can’t go down there, especially… it’s winter time,” resident Linda Bowman said.
There are buses coming and going right at the front door where the public transportation stop once was, but the smaller access buses are mostly used for medical appointments.
“That bus came down that hill for so many years and all of a sudden they want to change it, and I’ve talked to the bus drivers when I rode the bus and they say there’s no problem with them coming down that hill at all,” resident Pat Leach said.
But the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority says it is a safety issue for them as well.
“That is a quite steep hill, and with the weather in this area, could be ice, snow, even rain can cause safety concerns,” a Transit Authority representative said.
As far as weather is concerned, it’s been a year at the new bus stop with no bus shelter, but that part changes soon; a corner bus stop shelter may be installed as soon as well.
There are other Paratransit services available, buses that will come to the door, but the cost is $8 for every round trip. Public transportation is free for those 65 and older.