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Time to settle transit dispute

We hope a dispute between the Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority and the Weirton Transit Corp., which has resulted in a halt of SVRTA service to Weirton, can be resolved quickly.

It appears much of the issue is focused on a shelter and a proposed link point between the agencies. WTC has been working to establish the link at a park and ride just off U.S. Route 22 along Harmon Creek Road. SVRTA says the location is unsuitable for a variety of reasons, and points to what has been described as a “gentleman’s agreement” that has allowed a transfer point to operate in front of the Mary H. Weir Library on Main Street in Weirton.

We understand each side of this dispute feels their position is correct. There are bound to be hurt feelings after the two agencies have spent so much time working on the proposed memorandum, and investing into their operations to make such a service available.

We also understand an agreement is needed in order for such a link to operate. Reports that Weirton Transit officials have been contemplating legal action if SVRTA continued to bring buses into Weirton at any point but the park and ride have done nothing to lighten the disagreement.

Until that deal is worked out, the people who are being hurt the most are the customers who depend on bus transportation.

Weirton Transit cannot currently operate outside of West Virginia. Its routes primarily are within the Weirton city limits, although some effort has been made to expand into neighboring areas of Hancock and Brooke counties and officials are looking for opportunities to grow.

SVRTA runs a route from its main service district in Jefferson County to Robinson Township and recently has expanded its service to a transfer point at the Rayland park and ride, where riders can connect with buses operated by the Ohio Valley-Eastern Ohio Transit Authority.

When you look at the entire SVRTA system, it all means that with just a few connections, Steubenville-area residents are able to ride to locations including Pittsburgh International Airport, downtown Pittsburgh, the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville and the Highlands in Wheeling

With the link in Weirton broken, there are going to be individuals with one less way to move around.

Ultimately, both agencies are here to provide a service to the public.

We would encourage officials from agencies to sit down, re-establish a dialogue and work together, in whatever ways allowable, in order to better meet the needs of all of their customers.

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