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Bus Riders To Pony Up

SWIFTWATER — Big changes are coming for bus riders in the Poconos.

Monroe County’s transit authority raised its rates on Tuesday, while another major bus company in our area announced it is cutting back routes and stops from the Poconos to New York.

Beginning Tuesday, the cost of the adult rider fare went up twenty five cents for people catching the Pocono Pony in Stroudsburg.

If your commute takes you from Monroe County to New York City, there’s some even bigger changes coming in the next few weeks

Hitching a ride on the Pocono Pony just got a bit more expensive. Monroe County’s transit authority raised rates this month for the first time in 18 years.

“We are adding 25 cent fare to all of our fixed route fares for adults, so it’s a quarter more, but we’re adding the value back in by adding the transfer for free,” said Monroe County Transit Authority member Richard Schlameuss.

But the even bigger change for riders is the new MoGo Transit Card. The electronic fare card now replaces paper tickets, can be bought right on the bus for $1, and is rechargeable.

“By using the card and using the bus often, they actually pay less per trip which is a really good thing,” Schlameuss added.

Martz Trailways officials also announced that they’re making some changes. Even though parking lots are packed, they say they’ve seen ridership drop about 20 percent in the past five years, so they’re making some cuts to their routes in the Poconos.

Martz is cutting five round trips between the Poconos and New York City beginning July 14.

“My bus is full every day. I can’t see it, I can’t see it. It’s got to be some other reason,” said Michael Daugherty of Albrightsville.

Daugherty commutes to New York City every day for work and says some routes near his home in the west end will soon be gone.

“That could hurt, that really could hurt them, you know? It’s an inconvenience, driving is an inconvenience and now cutting service, it’s more of an inconvenience.”

Lorraine and Vito Marcaglise tell us their daughter just started her first job out of college in the Big Apple and is already struggling with the current bus route.

“It’s going to be a really bad thing, because it’s hard now and if they change it and they have less busses and less stops, it’s going to be even worse,” said Lorraine Marcaglise.

Martz Trailway officials say the cutback in service and the number of stops along routes is to avoid rate increases.

Riders aren’t so sure.

“I seriously doubt that. They’ll probably raise them. I don’t think anyone keeps their prices down.”

Detailed information on the new Martz bus schedules to New York are posted online.

Many commuters say the changes may drive them to take their own cars to New York instead.

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