Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The History of LANta - Part 6

As LANTA approached the turn of the century, it faced financial and other challenges not the least of which was trying to acquire accessible vehicles to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992. It was, in a manner of speaking, the worst of times and the best of times . . .

December 1995.
Ten new Orion II mini-buses were placed in service, primarily on shuttle routes. These were the first low floor buses LANta received and were also the first with front wheel drive.

April 1996. LANTA assumed day-to-day responsibilities for operating the Carbon County Community Transit system. Service was contracted out to Palmeri Motor Coach Corporation and Carbon residents enjoyed an immediate improvement to the quality of service provided.

June 1996. Reacting to a massive cut in federal funding, Metro fixed-route service was cut 6.5%. The DASH service ended. This was an extremely painful time for the Board and staff and much credit goes to faithful LANTA riders for adjusting and continuing to ride.

July 1996. The Allentown Intercity Bus Terminal opens for business. The terminal was funded through a grant to LANTA by FTA & PennDOT. The City of Allentown owns the terminal and leases it to Trans Bridge Lines.

August 1996. A four-month experiment with point deviation service began in Lynn Township. Service was provided two days a week to varying locations. It did not succeed.

September 3, 1996. Fares are increased on the Metro system, in response to claims by riders that they would rather pay higher fares than experience more cuts in service. Fixed route fares were raised to $1.35, 10-ridetickets were prices at $9, and 40-ride tickets and monthly passes were $34.

October 1996. The Allentown Intercity Bus Terminal was officially dedicated.

March 1997. The Authority was officially 25 years old. LANta faced severe challenges of decreasing federal funding and its pivotal role in the Welfare to Work initiative.

April 1997. The Commonwealth of PA passed new transit legislation that, in part, addressed the negative effects of federal program cut backs. LANTA assumed management of Carbon County Community Transit (CCCT).

May 14, 1997
. A special 25 cent fare was in effect for the day to celebrate the Authority’s 25th Anniversary.

July 199
7. Zippy, LANTA’s electric bus was removed from service. Gone, but not forgotten, the electrical vehicle effort was a noble experiment and LANTA was proud to be a part of an early effort to adopt alternative fuel vehicles.

September 1997. A special 25 cent cash fare is in effect for the entire month. The ridership increased to 20%. This was part of an effort to support service improvement made possible by the new PA transit legislation.

September 1, 1997.
New Route L began between the Parkway Shopping Center and the Lehigh Valley Mall.

February 1998. LANTA received ten 40', gently used, Neoplan buses from SEPTA that were pressed into service until new buses were acquired.

May 1998.
Trans-Bridge Lines began Amtrak Thruway Express Motor Coach between the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. This Demonstration project was an effort to meet demand for services between the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. If successful in attracting passengers, Trans-Bridge Lines intended on continuing service.

July 1998. William Malkames was named the 12th Authority Chairman.

August 17, 1998. A new Lynx Route began service between Carbon County and Lehigh County.

September 1998
. A special 25 cent cash fare was in effect for the entire month, again it support new services being offered.

January-February 1999.
LANTA received 15–35” and five-40” New Flyer Low Floor buses and placed them in service. These 20 new buses were put in service to replace the 1983 buses.

April 1999.
The last 1973 GMC bus and all ex-SEPTA buses were retired.
June 1999. New farebox components were installed. An external trim unit was added to all GFI fareboxes that dispensed transfers and day passes. September 1, 1999. An EZ All Day Pass was introduced at a cost of $2.

September 1999.
LV-Amtrak Connection service was discontinued due to low ridership.

October 1, 1999.
A 31-Day EZ Pass was introduced at a cost of $34.

June 2000.
Bicycle racks were installed on the front of all buses.

July 2000
. Fred Williams was named the 13th Authority Chairman.

May 2001.
In partnership with the Lehigh Valley Air Quality Partnership, free rides began on "code red" Ozone Action Days in an effort to reduce pollution from single occupancy automobiles.

August – September 2001. Ten-35’ and ten-40’ New Flyer Low Floor buses arrived and were placed in service.

October 2001.
The last Neoplan bus from the "1,000 bus PA bus purchase" was retired from service.

October 21, 2001.
Sunday service began with 10 routes.

February 2002
. Five-35” and five-40” New Flyer Low Floor buses arrived and were placed in service.

February 9, 2002.
Slater Express Service on Saturdays began between the borough of Portland and Palmer Park Mall in Northampton County.

May 2002.
Last Orion II bus removed from service after a 12-year useful life.

July 2002. Trudy Fatzinger was elected the 14th Authority Chairperson.