It seems to me that I’m not the only one around here who drew pretty much of a blank when asked for an opinion about this county’s public transportation system.
After having that question posed to me recently, I figured I’d test the waters a bit by asking the same question of a guy I’ve known about for about 50 years or so and who has lived most of his life hereabouts. His answer went something like this, “Well, I’ve seen buses with CATS on the side but I don’t know what that stands for. I think CATS provides rides for disabled or elderly people and for children who have some kind of special needs. As far as I know CATS doesn’t have any regular bus routes.”
Boy, was he surprised with what I’ve found out about CATS (the Greene County Coordinated Agency Transportation System) and I think you will also be saying, “I didn’t know that.” For one thing, he’s correct that CATS provides “… contractual service for the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities and … non-emergency medical transportation service with the Xenia Adult Recreation and Service Center for Greene County Job and Family Services.” (Source: CATS Executive Director, Ken Collier).
But CATS also provides public transportation service for all county residents. In general, CATS has a couple of types of “bus routes” providing transportation for the general public. One is the “circulator” type that, as the name suggests, “circulates” on defined routes serving our Greene County communities of Beavercreek, Fairborn, and Xenia (Yellow Springs is served by a somewhat different service described below.) The particular route is identified by an illuminated color sign on the upper front of the bus. The Orange Line circulates through Beavercreek, the Blue Line does the same for Fairborn, and the Green Line serves Xenia. These start service at 6 a.m. with the last stop somewhere around 5:30 to 6 p.m. or so depending on the particular route. Each route has what are called “time points,” that is, the bus is scheduled to be at particular locations at specified times — and some of these “time points” are also “transfer points” to other lines, but more about that later.
For example, the Orange Line (Beavercreek Circulator) is at The Mall at Fairfield Commons entrance D at 7:12 a.m. (perhaps accommodating early morning “mall walkers”) then every 90 minutes with the last stop there being 5:42 p.m. Among “time points” are Lofino’s Market and Five Points Plaza (both transfer points.) The Green Line (Xenia Circulator), also on a 90-minute schedule starting at 6 a.m. from the Xenia Town Square (a transfer point), has scheduled stops at such locations as the Social Security office, Wal Mart, and the county office complex on Ledbetter Road. The Fairborn Connector (Blue Line) circuit includes Kroger, Five Points Plaza (transfer point), the YMCA, and the government center downtown. Just samples, but you get the idea.
OK, that’s nice, but what about getting around the county — between our towns? Well, CATS has set up “Connector” routes — which “connect” the circulator routes and also provide service to areas not served by the circulators. For example, the Yellow Line (Xenia/Yellow Springs/Fairborn Connector) links Yellow Springs (which does not have a circulator line) with Xenia and Fairborn. Both Xenia and Fairborn have transfer points to their respective circulator lines. A person in Yellow Springs going to the Social Security office in Xenia can catch the Yellow Line in Yellow Springs and then transfer (free) to the Green Line and on to the office. There are also a couple of slightly different “connectors.” One is the Dayton Connector (Red Line), a no-transfer express route that connects Xenia to downtown Dayton. Then, too, there is a Late Night Connector (Purple Line) which originates at Lofino’s market at 8:50 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and hits a number of points such as Beavercreek Kroger, Wal Mart, Wright State, Clark State, The Mall at Fairfield Commons and Yellow Springs with the last stop in Xenia at 12:02 a.m. — but not all stops are included on both these trips so you’ve got to check the timetable closely.
One more quick point. With some exceptions, the fare — exact change required — for a one-way trip is $1.50 but passengers age 13 and under, the elderly, and the disabled pay only $.75 — all with free transfers. Oh, yes, CATS has recently introduced a monthly bus pass system, but more about that and other neat stuff such as “Flex Routes” and “Demand Responsive” service that I never heard of before when I wrap things up next time — and I betcha you’ll continue saying, “I didn’t know that.”
At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a Greene County Daily columnist and area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org