Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, the Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority (EPTA) operates in the area surrounding Martinsburg—the fastest growing city in West Virginia. Overdue for a plan that would improve their service and better meet the needs of the residents, the small, rural transit agency hired Foursquare ITP and Michael Baker International in 2014.

To develop EPTA’s Transit Development Plan (TDP), our team analyzed numerous data sets, including: ridership by line, stop, and trip; on-time performance; passenger surveys; operator interviews; and transit demand in and around the service area. Ultimately, we recommended restructuring the four core routes into six routes to connect passengers more quickly with their destinations and expand the service area to increase the number of transit-accessible destinations.

We introduced the Yellow Line, a new direct route to the Martinsburg Mall—one of the busiest destinations in the system. This cut in half effective headways between the main EPTA transfer center in downtown Martinsburg and the mall. We also designed the Yellow Line to serve Blue Ridge Community College, a major destination in Martinsburg without service.

Additionally, we planned a new “circulator” route serving the cities of Charles Town and Ranson. This route provides better frequency to major shopping destinations in the area. After we completed the TDP, EPTA immediately conducted public hearings on the recommended route changes and implemented them only months later, in October 2015. As Martinsburg’s The Journal reported last month, the results have been extraordinary so far.

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, the EPTA system totaled 62,000 passenger trips. Post-implementation passenger trips increased by 18 percent to over 73,000 passenger trips in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015. Following this TDP’s initial success, Foursquare ITP and Michael Baker International continue to work with EPTA for a transfer center relocation study.

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