River Valley Transit to receive multi-million federal grant

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A bus company in Lycoming County is receiving $7.2 million in a federal grant as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.

River Valley Transit, which has been opperating fare-free since March 21, was impacted by financial harship during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the money received from the federal grant will allow the company to continue providing its transit service as Williamsport works its way into recovery.

“This grant that we did recieve is completely different from the state and local grants that we get and this is above and beyond what we normally would have gotten so we really are relying on this to help use to pay for all of the other expenses that we didn’t know we were going to be having.” Skip Cochran, marketing director for River Valley Transit.

Over the last several months, River Valley Transit has seen a two-thirds drop in riders while already operating for free. The federal funding can now be used for fare replacement as well as for covering any expenses regarding sanitation and helping those currently out of work.

“I think it’ll be great it’ll defintely go a long ways without having any fares and stuff the last couple of months.” bus driver Bob Simmons said.

Bob Simmons, a bus driver with River Valley Transport who is still be working, tells Eyewitness News these past couple of months have been a crazy ride.

“Our buses get sanitized in the middle of the day and then they get sanitzed again in the evening when the buses come back so they’re basically done twice a day and so we all wear our masks throughout the day. I definitely look forward to getting back on the normal schedules.” Simmons said.

River Valley Transit says they hope to have regular ridership by July.

They also just revamped their “My Ride” app for riders to get information on schedules and announcements on arrivals and departures, hoping that helps as well for people to get back on the bus.

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