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Hybrid bus system coming to Wabash

NEW ADDITIONS: Wabash Marketplace Coordinator Andrea Zwiebel shows downtown merchants some of the rebranding for First Friday fliers at the Merchants Meeting on Wednesday at Modoc’s Cafe.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

Living Well CEO Beverly Ferry said she hopes to launch a transportation initiative in the early summer at the Merchants Meeting held by Wabash Marketplace Inc. on Wednesday.

Ferry said there are 900 households in Wabash County without a car and even more without reliable transportation. Using two buses and a “Swedish hybrid model,” she said residents in need of a ride will be able to climb on a bus from one of the designated stops or request a stop at their home. The buses will run to all sides of Wabash for 12 hours a day.

“Without transportation people become isolated,” she said. “We’re hopeful that this will make people feel more familiar with the downtown area.”

She said the bus routes will go through downtown Wabash to “reintroduce” people to the downtown area while also helping vendors get some exposure. 

Karen Eilts-Walter, director at Rock City Lofts downtown, said most of their residents are without cars. The downtown facility rents apartments to residents 55 and older based on income, and Eilts-Walter said a bus stop will accommodate riders for the Lofts and the Wabash County Historical Museum. She said the city plans on adding a pedestrian crossing to the area as well. Ferry said that other merchants wanting a stop by their store can contact her. The buses are also open to advertising for local merchants with wrapping on the inside and outside of the bus for additional exposure. She said the bus routes will make frequent stops at local stores to help people get to and from common destinations, “like Walmart and Parkview.”