Bus service planning continues

LOCK HAVEN — August is drawing near its end and there still is no bus service in town.

Things seem to be lined up locally for a pilot project that would provide daily bus service in the Lock Haven area, as well as service to Jersey Shore and Williamsport. The holdup is on the state level, city council heard at its meeting Monday evening.

The state budget process isn’t finished, and the state Department of Transportation is waiting for that to happen before it approves the project, council heard.

River Valley Transit, of Williamsport, which would provide the bus routes, recently has said it will take the risk that PennDOT eventually will give the green light. Reportedly, River Valley is willing to move ahead with the Lock Haven project and hope for reimbursement later.

Schedules and stops now are being worked out, reported Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson and Councilman Ted Forbes.

The bus service was discussed during the Clinton County commissioners work session Monday, Stevenson reported

“It’s good news,” he said. “Thank you, River Valley Transit.”

Piper Airport

Lock Haven Mayor William E. Baney III also brought up Piper Airport, which the city owns and operates. He urged that its hours of operation be examined.

“Folks, I am not anti-airport,” he said. “What I am in favor of is coming up with ideas to make the airport work.”

Some of those ideas could include using the property in creative ways, such as holding a concert in one of the hangars, he said.

Other ideas might concentrate on extending the airport’s basic functions.

He read a letter to council that he had received from a pilot, whom he declined to name, saying the airport seems to be run as “a government department,” not a business.

The airport is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. It is closed on holidays and, evidently, during some of the most popular flying hours.

“It is closed during the most favorable times to make money,” the mayor said.

The best flying can be found in the mornings and toward evenings, according to the pilot’s letter, as read by the mayor. In addition, travelers like to fly until close to dark, then leave again early in the morning.

But when the airport is closed, there is no way to buy fuel here.

“We lose fuel, we lose hotels, we lose restaurants,” Baney said.

The cost of fuel at Piper Airport, which is a full-service fueling point for planes, is $4.55 per gallon. In Northumberland, the self-serve fuel price is $3.98, and in Bradford County it is $4.06, the mayor said.

He asked about the possibility of installing a credit card self-service fuel pump. City staff could bring details on that idea to council during budget planning sessions for 2018, Assistant City Manager Gregory J. Wilson said.

The mayor also asked about the Airport Advisory Committee and what it could do about these matters.

The city has been steadily improving the airport infrastructure in recent years, he said, and it is a beautiful facility. However, he added, it has to be open for business to be profitable.