Amber Township agrees to offer bus service along US 10 corridor. 

March 7, 2022

Amber Township agrees to offer bus service along US 10 corridor. 

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By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — During its Feb. 28 regular meeting, the Amber Township Board of Trustees approved a one year partnership with Ludington Mass Transit Authority to provide transportation to all improved commercial properties along the US-10 corridor in the township, according to Paul Keson, director of LMTA. 

Currently, LMTA serves the cities of Ludington and Scottville and Pere Marquette Charter Township. Ludington and Scottville pay a millage directly to LMTA for services, approved by the voters in those municipalities, while Pere Marquette Township contracts for services by paying an annual usage fee. Because taxpayers in Amber Township have not contributed to LMTA, it has not been servicing that township, which also has meant that residents of Ludington, Scottville, or PM Township have not been able to be dropped off or picked up in Amber Township. The service was once offered in the commercial districts along US 10 between Pere Marquette Township and Scottville but stopped in 2014 due to expenses. 

“The partnership is an effort to gather ridership numbers over one year and present them to the corridor property owners to see their interest in a transportation special assessment district,” Keson said. 

The cost of the special assessment would be the same as the millage rate Ludington and Scottville taxpayers pay, 1.2262 mills. Amber Township’s western boundary is Meyers Road and its eastern boundary is the Scottville city limits, just west of McPhail Field. 

Keson said the partnership started to develop after a transportation survey was conducted during the summer of 2021. The $7,300 survey was funded in part from The Pennies from Heaven Foundation, LMTA, and the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. The survey was sent out to the 151 business and residential property owners along US 10 in Amber Township. Out of the 151 mailed out, 42 responded giving the survey a 27% response rate, which is higher than average in the current era of declining survey participation as stated by the Emma White Research firm that conducted the survey.

“The key findings informed us that support for a special assessment was high and that a large majority, 70%, would support adding public transit to the corridor,” Keson said. “A quarter, 26%, said they would oppose it. The survey also informed us that 58% of commercial property owners would ‘definitely’ support the assessment while just 28% of residential property owners said the same. This information led the focus of the partnership to only be on the improved commercial properties with frontage along US-10.”

Keson has been in talks with Amber Township Supervisor Jim Gallie and presented to the Amber board at its Feb. 28 meeting. 

“The Amber Township Board agreed to help cover a percentage of the cost associated with fuel, oil, tires, and bus maintenance parts up to $8,500 depending on LMTA’s actual budget expenditures and ridership numbers,” Keson said. “The cost for transportation service to the Amber Township corridor will be $1 more than the regular ridership fares. This extra fare cost was to help defer some of the expense of the partnership with Amber Township.”

The transportation service will operate with the same business hours that LMTA currently offers: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7p.m.;  Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (pre-scheduled only).

“LMTA and the Amber Township Board of Trustees agreed that this partnership and service would offer more employment opportunities, increase the customer base for businesses and restaurants, offer services for care facility residents, and in general, create more access and contribute to economic growth for the community,” Keson said. “We are both hopeful that this one-year study will inform the corridor property owners and business owners on the benefit of public transportation to them and the community. In the end, it will be up to those property owners to carry it on. This one-year study would not have been possible without the help of Amber Township and Its interest in helping out the local businesses in our community.”

Service to the US 10 corridor in Amber Township begins April 1, 2022. The service includes Covenant Christian School, Keson said. 

Riders still must be picked up and dropped off from areas within the LMTA service district, which includes the cities of Ludington and Scottville, Pere Marquette Township, and businesses along the US 10 corridor between Meyers Road and Scottville city limits. LMTA is a “dial-a-ride” service meaning riders must call to set up pick-up and drop-off times and locations. 

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