July 01--Morgantown just got a little easier to get to, thanks to a new bus out of Charleston's Greyhound station.
The route's first bus departed at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. The first passengers filled the few benches at the station, some taking advantage of the free tickets offered until Monday.
"The bus looks kind of sexy," said Parker Webb, 26, of Pittsburgh, referring to the bus' sleek "I-RIDE 79" decals and fresh interior. He's headed to Richwood for the Rainbow Gathering, a huge camp community that assembles every July.
He said he would've hitchhiked but that his grandmother got worried and told him to get a ticket. Webb said he's taken a Greyhound bus route before but was disappointed by the service.
Barons Bus Service, headquartered in Cleveland, is contracted to run the new Interstate 79 service. It partners with Greyhound to connect riders from smaller communities to larger urban centers.
"I'm not the biggest fan of Greyhound, so this is nice," Webb said. "This is a surprise."
Mark Spencer, a manager for Barons, said that the new route will also help college students from Charleston get to West Virginia University in Morgantown.
"It does help college students get back and forth from a major town to a college town," Spencer said.
Lloyd McIntyre, 17, of Charleston, stood beside the bus as his parents snapped some photos. He's going to start classes at WVU in the fall and had his bags packed for his new apartment.
"It's really convenient," McIntyre said. "I'm glad it's here."
Spencer also said that the new routes are for anyone who needs a ride somewhere, not just college students.
Riders in rural areas between Charleston and Morgantown will be able to use the new service to connect to cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Washington.
The bus departs at 10:15 a.m. Monday through Saturday and heads up Interstate 79, making stops in Clendenin, Flatwoods, Weston, Clarksburg and Fairmont along the way to Morgantown. Leaving from Charleston, tickets cost $15, and decrease as stops get closer to Morgantown.
On Sundays, the bus departs from Charleston at 2 p.m.
From Morgantown, the bus leaves Mountaineer Station at 5:45 p.m. and arrives at Charleston's Greyhound station at 9:10 p.m. The return schedule remains the same every day, including Sunday.
More information on the new route is available at 888-378-3823 or at www.baronsbus.com.
Reach Jack Suntrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5100.
Copyright 2014 - The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.