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Insufficient public transportation a problem in Sussex

December 15, 2017

What do the Lewes Christmas Parade, the Rehoboth Christmas Parade, Rehoboth Holiday Farmers Market, the Milton Holiday Tree Lighting, Long Neck Christmas Fair, Lewes in Bloom Christmas Market, Milford Festival of Trees, Rehoboth Art League Holiday Open House, Zwaaanendal Holiday Bazaar, the Dagsboro Railroad Club all have in common? They all occur on Saturdays! Did you guess that?

The other common factors are that they are all held in Sussex County, and they are not accessible by DART bus riders.

The people who ride the buses comprise mostly low-income poor and retirees on a fixed income. In fact, there are no buses running at all on Saturdays and Sundays from September to the middle of May!

These citizens are denied access to many activities every weekend, because for more than 14 years, DelDOT has not kept up with the economic growth of this county. The needs of the poor have been ignored.

Without public transportation on the weekends, they cannot go shopping on the weekends, attend art shows, music concerts and church activities, much less be employed at a restaurant, store or a medical facility where weekend work is required. I lived in Lewes in 2004, and there were no weekend buses then either.

There has been tremendous growth in housing and the business sector since then. Why hasn't DelDOT kept up with this growth? I spoke to DART in 2004 about this lack, and I've been riding the buses in Sussex County again since September 2015. I've reported this to them at a public workshop Feb. 23 in Seaford. They recorded my testimony, and I also spoke to several of their top administration after my testimony.

In Sussex County, the buses are managed by an outside company that is not unionized like the other two counties in Delaware. I was told by a supervisor of the company that not being unionized, gives them more freedom to do what needs to done.

I told them about three bus shelters with glass partitions that are broken out, and they have been this way for more than two years! These are at Five Points shopping center and in front of the Giant supermarket in Rehoboth.

As of today, they are still not repaired. So "Granny" gets soaking wet and windblown while waiting for the bus! "Lilly" the nursemaid's uniform gets drenched, and "Dan and Becca's" college portfolios get all smeary!

And by the way, I saw the Tanger Outlets shuttle shelter across the street from the Giant supermarket. It's in great shape! I called the manager of the Tanger Outlets to find out who manages the outlet shuttle shelters. He told me they are managed by DelDOT.

Susan Duck
Lewes

 

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