Proposed bus schedule improvements for the Humboldt Industrial Park route were outlined for attendees during a recent virtual Humboldt Park Association meeting.
The schedule changes will be included in the Hazleton Transit Development Plan, which Hazleton Public Transit (HPT) is putting together with support from Penn DOT. The plan should be completed by the end of the year and will provide a strategic public transit vision that will guide transit priorities and improvements for the next five years.
Hazleton Public Transit Director Ralph Sharp and Heather Martin, project manager for the development plan and a transportation planner with WSP USA, spoke about the goals for the plan and how HPT hopes to devise a schedule for the Humboldt route that will result in an increase in ridership.
Preliminary plans call for a weekday schedule that would leave the Church Street Station Terminal every hour on the hour from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a trip to Humboldt Industrial Park. The bus would travel along many of the same roads as the current schedule, including Station Circle in Humboldt Station, North Park Drive, Stony Creed Road, Scotch Pine Drive, Forest Road, Green Mountain Road, Oak Ridge Road, Maplewood Drive and Commerce Drive.
Several industry professionals on the call provided input on adding additional stops to the route or extending the service time to assist employees working shifts that end after 5 p.m. Sharp said that, although it won’t be possible to include every suggestion, Hazleton Public Transit officials are committed to “making our transportation the best it can be to accommodate everyone.”
The Hazleton Transit Development Plan will evaluate HPT’s current route system, the area it serves, its assets and the community’s needs; identify where there are opportunities for growth and enhancement; and provide recommendations for improvement and implementation.
HPT reached out to both riders and members of the community who don’t currently use the service for their input and feedback via an online survey, online public meetings and a project website. After gathering data, some of the potential improvements the organization is considering include route directness, different schedules, communication to increase awareness of the bus service, bus stop improvements and new potential service areas.
CAN DO President and CEO Kevin O’Donnell and Humboldt Park Association President Brian Poveromo both expressed their thoughts on how the new transit plan needs to account for future economic development growth both in and around Humboldt Industrial Park.
O’Donnell mentioned several development projects that are in the works for the south side of Hazleton and how that will impact the need for more bus service over the next decade.
“When companies sit down with us now, they ask where they can get employees and how they can get them to their facility and this will only increase with the huge growth we are expecting in the area over the next 10 years. There is going to be a definite need for more transportation and we need to be ready for it and be proactive in talking to these developers,” O’Donell said.
Poveromo added, “We’ve seen strong growth happening in Humboldt Industrial Park and this plan needs to address that and also take into account how we view that in the next two to three years.”
A final online public meeting before the transit plan is finalized will be held on Tuesday, November 10. To register for the meeting, visit www.ridehpt.com. For more information on the Hazleton Transit Development Plan, visit www.HPTTransitStudy.com.