MOUNT CARMEL - Three open house meetings will be held later this month to obtain public input on the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS) to develop a Transit Development Plan (TDP).

Executive Director Megan Janolek said Tuesday the meetings will be held to gather "anything and everything" people want to talk about in regards to LATS, a government-funded entity managed by Mount Carmel Borough and designed to provide affordable public transportation in eastern Northumberland County.

"We're looking at routes, the best places to stop, whether we should add anything, should we add the night route," Janolek said.

She will host the meeting with consultant Michael Baker Corporation, of Harrisburg, which will be present to also gather information and answer questions.

In September, Janolek said a TDP report would need to be completed before adding a night run, extended hours and new buses to LATS.

The TDP would provide LATS with recommendations of future plans based on studies of the system and interviews of riders over the last year.

The meetings will be held Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Shamokin Senior Action Center, 821 W. Chestnut St., Coal Township; from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mount Carmel Senior Action Center, 41 S. Market St.; and from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mount Carmel Borough Council chambers, 137 W. Fourth St..

Janolek said the public is encouraged to attend one of the open house meetings anytime during the scheduled hours to discuss their opinions and ideas regarding LATS bus service.

"Whether or not you currently use LATS, your input is important," she said.

It was recently approved by PennDOT to receive $495,000 in grant money. Last year, it was $517,000. If LATS is recommended to expand in the TDP, Janolek can request more funding.

Additionally, LATS has $327,000 in state money to use for new buses, but Janolek said she approval for new buses were rejected due to being over the weight limit.

Therefore, the paperwork must be restarted, she said.

The Shamokin and Mount Carmel routes run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Each ride is $1. Children under the age of 4 ride for free, and children ages 5 to 10 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.

For a full schedule, call 570-339-3956 or look for LATS on Facebook.