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Athens continues to work with HAPCAP

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The City of Athens plans to re-establish their deal with the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) program.

The deal, run through the Ohio Rural Intercity Bus Program, has been called a success by council members since it’s installment.

“We started with HAPCAP and have gone a year now with the new contract,” Michele Papai, Third Ward Rep., said during Monday’s meeting. “We’ve been happy with that.”

The idea to partner with HAPCAP, a program run out of Logan, OH, began after the city addressed the issue of only one Go Bus route from Athens to Columbus. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) started a rural to urban program to solve the problem of limited transportation.

The end result allowed the city to listen to bids from transportation companies, HAPCAP being the winner. The city was able to add routes to Cincinnati and Marietta through HAPCAP’s marketing process, according to Mayor Paul Wiehl.

“It’s working quite well,” Wiehl said.

In order to keep HAPCAP alive, they must submit a new budget plan to ODOT. Getting city approval through the passage of an ordinance simply shows that the program is still backed by local government.

“We just want to make sure our t’s are crossed and our i’s dotted,” Wiehl said.

HAPCAP plans on adding additional routes and stop locations throughout the city to accommodate for an increase in ridership, according to Papai.

“My point of view as a council person looking at the improvements over the years, I’m thrilled,” Papai said.

The improvements to HAPCAP have not fallen on deaf ears. Mayor Wiehl mentioned several advantages to the partnership with the city including an increase in rider frequency without an increase in cost, the addition of express routes as well as increased hours of operation for rides to the Plains.

“We are doing the best we can with limited resources,” Wiehl said.

The opinion of the council appeared to be positive overall as they unanimously passed an ordinance to continue working with HAPCAP.

“Good organizational effort from that group (HAPCAP), in my opinion,” said Papai.

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