On January 8, 2016, the After School Activity (ASA) bus service will no longer be a general public service. The service is currently provided under a contract between the Shelton School District and Mason Transit Authority. It is operated by the Shelton School District, using its school buses and drivers, and then paid for by Mason Transit Authority (MTA).
The service began sixteen years ago when a need was identified to provide students with transportation home when they stayed after school for sports or other activities. At the time the school district did not have the funding and MTA did not have enough buses or drivers to provide the service. A contract was then developed between the two agencies in which MTA paid the school district to provide the supplemental service. As a general public agency, MTA could not fund a service that was limited just to students so it has been operated as a general public service.
On November 24, 2015, the Shelton School District Board voted to end the contract. They will absorb the service into the school district’s transportation provisions, which will serve only students of the school district. MTA will absorb the general public service into its existing operations. MTA’s Outreach Manager, Christina Kramer, said this will not create a reduction in service for general public riders since MTA’s Dial-a-Ride service and regular routes can be used in lieu of the ASA bus service.
According to Brad Patterson, MTA General Manager, the ASA service has been operated successfully and there have been no incidents reported over the sixteen years it’s been in service. The service received positive national attention and recognition from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) ten years ago, as well as recently when MTA was awarded by CTAA as the 2015 Rural Community Transportation System of the Year.
Mr. Patterson stated, “MTA has appreciated the opportunity to further our mission to provide transportation choices through the ASA bus service and partnership with the Shelton School District. This program has been an example of how innovation can be used to fulfill a community need and we’re glad to have been able to make it happen when it was needed.”
The Superintendent of the Shelton School District, Dr. Alex Apostle, said this will not have any impact on the current after school activity bus service for students. He stated, “On behalf of the Shelton School District I would like to recognize and thank MTA for their service, cooperation, and understanding regarding the school district’s decision on this matter.”
Both agencies are working together to inform riders of the upcoming changes. If you use the service or have questions please contact Mason Transit Authority’s customer service office at 360-427-5033 or 800-374-3747, or the Shelton School District at 360-426-8231.