MOUNT CARMEL - Riders of the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS) can expect a handful of minor changes to bus route schedules and fees starting today.

Bus stop times have been tweaked slightly by "a minute here and there," LATS executive director Megan Janolek said Monday.

"It's better for the riders and it makes it more efficient," she said.

For example, the first stop in Atlas near the corner of Laurel and Girard streets was changed from 8:17 a.m. to 8:16 a.m. The 10:05 a.m. stop on Shamokin and Race streets, Shamokin, was changed to 10 a.m. The 1:17 p.m. stop at the Kulpmont Senior Action Center was changed to 1:15 p.m.

All current times can be checked on the LATS schedule, which can be obtained at the borough office at Fourth and Vine streets or by visiting the LATS page on Facebook, Janolek said.

The monthly pass fees were also increased from $25 to $30, but each ride is still $1, with children under age 4 and seniors over 65 riding free. Children ages 5 to 10 ride for half price.

Stop at plaza

In other changes, Janolek said the Saturday run from Mount Carmel will now include a stop at Weis at the Anthracite Plaza in Coal Township.

The popular Knoebels Amusement Resort run, which will be available Tuesday through Saturday from June 16 to Aug. 23 will now be a two-hour round trip instead of three.

Riders wanting to get to Knoebels must be picked up at Walmart in Coal Township for the first two runs of the day, but riders can then be picked up anywhere else along the rest of the runs during the 10:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. window.

People can use the Knoebels run to go from stop to stop as well instead of using it to get to Knoebels only, Janolek said.

LATS is also introducing a "flag stop," which means a rider can wave the bus down at any corner along the route, and riders can also be let off at any corner along the route, she said.

Waiting on new buses

LATS had a 30-minute public meeting March 10 about these changes. One user from the Mount Carmel Highrise was present.

Janolek is also awaiting a project ID number from SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) so she can submit a purchase request to the state for three new buses.

She is expecting the request to be approved.

PennDOT provided $495,000 in grant money this year to LATS. Last year, it was $517,000. If the Transportation Development Plan (TDP) for LATS, which consultant Michael Baker Corp., Harrisburg, is preparing, recommends expansion of LATS service, Janolek can request more funding, but she won't know what they'll get from the state until May.

Managed by Mount Carmel Borough and designed to provide affordable public transportation in eastern Northumberland County, LATS is funded mostly from federal and state grants through PennDOT and the Lottery Senior Citizen Free Transit Fund.