County bolsters public transit service

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners agreed earlier this month to backfill some operational costs for Transportation on Demand, a public transportation service in Morgan County that operates out of the senior center in Berkeley Springs.

Senior Life Services of Morgan County Director Tammy Kees asked county officials to help cover operational expenses from March to June that would go unfunded due to a change in state grants.

Kees told commissioners that the agency in Charleston which funds part of the Transportation on Demand
locally got so many fund requests for vehicles and operations this year they ran out of money and reduced their contribution.

Normally, Transportation on Demand would get $40,000 per year for operational expenses, but that amount dropped to $24,000, said Kees. Senior Life Services got $10,000 in funding from another source, but will
still fall short.

“We’re still serving the community, but with no funds,” said Kees.

The transportation service does accept payment contributions, but those are not sufficient to cover the cost of running the service.

“We are not allowed to demand payment,” she said.

Kees said she’s been told the usual funding of $40,000 will be back in place through 2026.

Commissioner Joel Tuttle, who previously held Kees’ position with Senior Life Services, told his fellow commissioners he thought the funds request was fair – “it’s a bare minimum request,” he said.

Tuttle made a motion the county provide $11,373 to the transportation service for operations from March to
June, to be paid from ARP funds or carryover.

A driver with the service said the bus used to struggle to find four to five riders per day, but recently took 28 riders in one day.