Chino spends $1,500 to keep Paulden bus going

Despite poor ridership, transit to Aquatics Center returns for third year

Yavapai Regional Transit dropping kids off at the Chino Valley Aquatic Center last summer.

Photo by Ken Sain.

Yavapai Regional Transit dropping kids off at the Chino Valley Aquatic Center last summer.

Ron Romley, board chairman of Yavapai Regional Transit (YRT), appeared before the Chino Valley Town Council April 11 requesting financial help for this summer’s transportation from Paulden to the Aquatic Center in Chino Valley.

Romley said this will be the third year the YRT buses will transport children to the pool. The first year cost the company about $3,500. The board’s direction to cut back service the second summer resulted in running buses for the morning swim only, which cost $1,600.

“Last year, the town gave $1,000, so it only cost us $600,” he said.

YRT considered dropping the service last year because of poor ridership in its first year of service, but the $1,000 contribution from the Town Council kept it alive, Romley said at the time.

Romley earlier said the delay in opening the Aquatics Center, caused when the pool’s heater broke, hurt attendance. He told the Paulden Area Community Organization last September that fewer than 100 people took advantage of the service during the seven weeks it ran a bus to the Aquatics Center and back.

Buses run five days a week beginning the first week the pool opens to almost the end of the season. YRT uses volunteer drivers, saving about $2,400, and is looking for other sponsors “to donate to the cause.” Several service clubs in Chino Valley have contributed a total of $550, Romley said.

Tickets cost $1 for a round trip. He said 270 children have used the bus so far, and that Paulden will be tracking transportation rides this summer.

“We want to make sure all the kids in Paulden have a chance to use it,” he said.

In his letter to Town Manager Cecilia Grittman, dated March 10, Romley asked council for $1,000 or more to help defray maintenance and fuel costs.

Finance Director Joe Duffy said the budget includes $5,000 for promotion causes.

Mayor Darryl Croft asked council members if they wanted to support YRT for the summer Paulden pool run and, if so, for how much. Hearing no response, he said, “It’s a good gesture,” and made a motion to give YRT $1,500, which council approved unanimously.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.