The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

July 3, 2014

All aboard

While the focus this week is on The Greenbrier Classic in the eastern part of the county, western Greenbrier celebrated its own milestone with the establishment of a new public transportation bus route.

Mountain Transit Authority celebrated its new bus route that begins at Rainelle City Hall to Quinwood, then back to Rainelle after making stops in Rupert, Lewisburg, Fairlea and the Greenbrier Valley Industrial Park.

“I love it,” said Rupert Mayor James Nichols as he boarded the bus on its first-ever trip. “I said that I wanted to be the first one on the bus for this ride to Lewisburg. It is a great thing.”

Indeed it is.

Greenbrier County is a big county as they go, particularly among counties east of the Mississippi. At 1,025 square miles, it’s almost as big as the state of Rhode Island.

And with just 35,000 or so people living there, it’s a big place to travel across.

Which is why the MTA bus line is so important to residents of the county.

The bus will leave Rainelle at 7:50 a.m., returning at 4:20 p.m.

For a nominal fee — the round-trip from Rainelle to Fairlea and back is $7 — county residents now have a dependable way to move across the county.

Children up to 5 years of age ride free, and those from 6 to 12 can ride at half-price if accompanied by an adult.

And, contrary to a widespread rumor across the county, bus service isn’t limited to senior citizens, although we’re sure they are definitely looking forward to riding the new MTA route.

What the bus line means to the county is that residents now have one of the amenities we take for granted in metropolitan areas.

For a county as large as Greenbrier, where shopping, medical services and other necessities of life are spread across the towns and cities in the county, this transportation option is especially important.

“We hope that people use the bus to keep the service effective and to keep the MTA with us,” said Rainelle Mayor Andrea Pendleton.

For now, drivers take only cash or a pre-purchased ticket when riders board the bus.

To get a bus, just wait along the route and flag one down, an old-fashioned procedure that we think will work just as well as building fancy, dedicated bus stops.

Some may say this isn’t much of a step on the march to progress.

But given the large rural areas we have in southern West Virginia, we think this marks a significant improvement for those living in Greenbrier County.

We hope residents will embrace the bus route, and keep it running for a long time.

All aboard.

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