Greater Dayton Regional Transit passengers were able to take a bus from Dayton to Pentagon Boulevard in Beavercreek for the first time on Sunday.
The change came after city of Beavercreek officials rejected the RTA’s request to add the bus route, and a two year battle ensued. The city reconsidered in October because it risked losing more than $10 million in federal transportation money.
The RTA Route 1 expansion includes new stops near Clark State Community College and an area between the Mall at Fairfield Commons, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores.
John Erbaugh, a 53-year-old Dayton resident, said he used to catch the bus to the Dayton Mall, but he rode the bus to Beavercreek on Sunday because it was more convenient. He visited a used bookstore and Walmart, and plans to make a second trip to the area later this week.
“I can catch the bus and go straight home and not have to transfer,” he said. “It’s really nice.”
Erin Landers, a Dayton resident who lives on the east side of the city, said she was glad that the route included Pentagon Boulevard.
“I can come out here and get a job,” she said.
The new stops on Pentagon Boulevard were added in late 2013 after the city rejected RTA’s request to add the bus stops in March 2011. Leaders for Equality and Action in Dayton, a civil rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Highway Administration. The federal transportation agency sided with LEAD and determined the city violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and risked losing federal transportation grants.
“We’re glad that we’re able to provide access to jobs and education opportunities that exist on Pentagon Boulevard,” said Frank Ecklar, the RTA planning and marketing director. “That’s been the main issue from the very beginning. So we’re looking forward to … providing access for folks to get over to those opportunities that exists over there.”
RTA has had bus stops in Beavercreek on Colonel Glenn Highway between Grange Hall Road and near the entrance of Wright State University since the 1980s, Ecklar said.
“With all the growth that has occurred on Pentagon Boulevard, obviously it’s a destination for folks that want to access jobs and eduction,” Ecklar said.
Paula Ewers, the LEAD treasurer, said about 40 members of the organization rode the bus on Pentagon Boulevard early Sunday.
“We’re very thankful that the buses are rolling and will be there for the people who need transportation out there,” Ewers said.
Beavercreek Mayor Brian Jarvis said city officials met with RTA and the Federal Highway Administration a couple of months ago and were able to reach an agreement on criteria for the bus stops.
“What came out of that was an agreement that met all the parties’ understanding and as long as everybody sticks to the terms of those agreements in the future and doesn’t ask for any changes or variances …. then I have no concern that this shouldn’t work out.”