Hitch a ride to the rides: LATS now has Knoebels run
MOUNT CARMEL - The Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS) has added a Knoebels Amusement Resort route that's being used by park visitors and employees.
LATS Executive Director Megan Janolek said Monday the plan to add a third route to the six-day schedule that takes riders to Knoebels was approved in early June by PennDOT, and the new line has been running smoothly since June 10.
The $2 charge for one way is an inexpensive way for residents to access a local tourist attraction but also for workers to get to the park - even if the ride takes a bit longer than a normal drive.
LATS is a government-funded entity managed by Mount Carmel Borough and designed to provide affordable public transportation in eastern Northumberland County.
Janolek, who was appointed as LATS executive director in July, has been praised by borough council members for better record-keeping, identifying concerns and changing LATS routes for better time and efficiency that has led to higher ridership and fare revenue.
A bus to Knoebels runs Monday through Friday until the end of August, and it pick ups passengers at 19 locations.
As an example of the timing, riders who board at 9:08 a.m. at Weis in Coal Township will reach the park at 10:30 a.m. after stopping at the other 18 locations. Then, the bus heads back to Weis for an 11:08 a.m. pickup to start the cycle again.
The first two trips of the day are for riding to the park only and straight back to the pickup sites. The next two trips operate along the route in both directions to allow rides to and from the park. And the final trip of the day are for returns from the park only.
Pickup for trips back from Knoebels are at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Knoebels run will be serviced by one of the three 29-seat 2003 Thomas Transit Buses operated by LATS. Currently, LATS' Shamokin run is also serviced by one of the larger buses, and the Mount Carmel run is serviced by the transit company's only 21-seat 2009 Chevrolet Transit Bus.
This new route will have no affect on the current routes, Janolek said.
The Shamokin and Mount Carmel routes will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. All fares will be $1 every time a rider steps on a bus. Children under the age of 4 will ride for free, and children ages 5 to 10 will ride for half price.
Seniors over 65 ride free, because of programs subsidized by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Funding for LATS comes mostly from federal and state grants through PennDOT and the Lottery Senior Citizen Free Transit Fund.
Janolek said she will be meeting with Coal Township-based Catawese Coach Lines management today to discuss the final arrangements of the contract to provide operators and other services for the transportation system. Last week, Mount Carmel Borough Council unanimously gave their final approval for the contract.
A PennDOT consultant will also be reviewing the LATS routes and rates for efficiency, she said.
For the full Knoebels schedule, call 339-3956 or look for LATS on Facebook.