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Airport shuttle to downtown service being considered

By Richard Yeakley
Sept. 25, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.

Longview Transit officials are looking into the possibility of a $5 shuttle to and from East Texas Regional Airport.

The proposed shuttle has received a stamp of approval from both the airport and the Public Transportation Advisory Committee and is awaiting a sign of assent from the Federal Transit Authority.

"It just makes sense to have the airport connected with your bus system," said Tequita Mumphrey, director of operations for Longview Transit. "Right now the way we are laid out ... it is kind of hard to go ahead and do what you need to do, but I am asking FTA to get approval."

According to an informational flyer that Mumphrey handed out at Tuesday's meeting of the Public Transportation Advisory Committee, the cost to ride the shuttle would be $5 each way from downtown Longview to the airport.

The shuttle would operate either by appointment or by will call which would take between 15 and 20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive to pick up arriving passengers.

The flyer pits the proposed shuttle service against taxi and limousine services, comparing the $5 shuttle to a taxi ride that costs about $20 or limousine ride at $30.

Mumphrey said the plan calls for using Longview Transit mini-vans, and not a bus, for the service.

Airport Director Roy Miller, who helped bring city transit to Shreveport's airport when he managed it several years ago, said he would be pleased if the proposal gains traction.

"There is always the need for people to get back and forth from the airport to town," Miller said. "It was very beneficial, especially for folks that worked (at the Shreveport airport) ... I think it is good for multi-modal and inter-modal transportation for city transit to connect to the airport."

Miller said he believed that East Texas Regional Airport would continue to be the destination of more flights and that a bus system into town would, at some point, be a necessity.

"We are working diligently to try to increase our flights and change our schedule to try to accommodate the public," Miller said. "We feel pretty optimistic that our economy is growing ... I think (a bus stop) is something that we probably will need. We want to do all we can do to help work with the Longview Transit and get that done."

Mumphrey said the will-call shuttle service would be geared towards professionals looking for a more economic mode of transportation to the airport than a taxi or limousine.

A Longview Transit airport shuttle would be another piece in an ongoing effort to develop a multi-modal transportation center in Longview.

In February, work began on the renovation of the Historic Train Depot, which serves as an Amtrak station and sits across from the Longview Transit offices on Pacific Street.

In May, Greyhound moved from its terminal on Magrill Street to 908 E. Pacific St. - a space it shares with Longview Transit.

City plans include one day moving the Longview Transit Transfer Station from Magrill Plaza to the multi-modal transit center.



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