Finney County Transit to offer airport service

2/28/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Starting Friday, Finney County Transit will begin offering service to Garden City Regional Airport.

At least a day's advance notice is required, but county transit will pick people up at home and take them to the airport. The fare is $5 each way.

Bruce Spiller, with Finney County Transit, said the organization is offering the new service to fill a need.

"All the employees here at transit who have flown see the flights are nearly full. That was one of the initial reasons," he said. "We've already had a call from the college. They have a class that's going to fly out in March. We barely got the ink dry, so the response is positive."

The service, which is not available on the weekend, will be demand driven, meaning people must call ahead to arrange pickups. There may be days that the service doesn't run at all.

"What we're going to do is have a driver come in early to run that shift and make it work that way," he said. "We're going to have to have at least one day's notice to make sure we have a driver available at that particular time."

The airport service is geared toward people who are flying in and out of the airport. Spiller said since most people get round-trip tickets, they can arrange all at one time to be taken to the airport to catch their flight and to be picked up when they return.

Spiller expects most of the activity to occur around the airline's departure and arrival times. However, the transit service is still working on details for the daily 10 p.m. flight that arrives from Dallas. Because the transit service doesn't operate after 10 p.m., Spiller said officials have been working to find a subcontractor who could offer service at that time.

If the program is successful, it could expand to other communities.

"We just presented it at our regional meeting and all the transportation people were very interested," Spiller said. "We spent a long time discussing it. Liberal, Dodge City, Hugoton — they all say they're using our airport and they would like to have some inter-city transportation getting going for their clients."

Basically, the airport service is transit's first attempt at providing some regional service even though it currently is limited to local clients, Spiller said. Eventually, he said, the goal is to create more transportation options between Garden City and Dodge City.

"We have the Greyhound Beeline Express right now between the two, but it's inconvenient because you have to spend the night to come home. Until they can add another bus or route, or we can do it; it's kind of impractical," he said.

To schedule a pickup, call Finney County Transit at 272-3626, or stop by the transit office at 1008 N. 11th St.

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