Blue Water Area Transit invites the public to ride buses free of charge on Thursday, November 10, to celebrate 40 years of service and the sesquicentennial of local public transportation. The agency will give riders souvenir buttons that day.
One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1866, Port Huron became one of the nation’s first communities with an operating transit system. BWAT was started in 1976.
The first local transit system served people arriving in town from Detroit aboard Grand Trunk Railroad trains. From meagre beginnings with a horse-drawn bus, William Pitt Edison established the Port Huron and Gratiot Street Railway Company to provide horse-drawn streetcar service along several rail routes in 1866.
Young Tom Edison is known for selling fruit and newspapers aboard local trains, but most people don’t realize that his older brother William also operated a local transit business serving those same passengers.
The Blue Water Area soon became one of the nation’s first communities to operate electrified trolleys in the 1880s and then motor coaches in the 1920s. Trolley service was provided by the Port Huron Electric Railway, which was built by the Van Depeole Manufacturing Company of Chicago. After restructuring and expansion, the system became City Electric Railway and provided continuous service until 1930.
Privately operated bus service started in 1927 and continued until an eight-year hiatus from 1968 to 1976. Since BWAT started publicly funded bus service in 1976, the transit agency has carried more than 29 million riders.
BWAT Honors Veterans
Blue Water Area Transit is inviting veterans, active military and the immediate families of active military to ride the bus for free on Veterans Day (Friday, November 11).
We deeply appreciate those who serve our country and salute their sacrifice.
The United States originally celebrated Veterans Day as Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I. Congress later changed the national holiday to Veterans Day in 1954 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed it “a day to honor all veterans.
Clinics Serve Missouri Riders
The Metro transit agency in St. Louis will soon have an innovative mobile health clinic program in three MetroLink stations. The program is made possible by a $940,251 Federal Transit Administration Rides to Wellness grant.
The grant program is part of FTA’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. The initiative supports projects that connect people to much needed health care services through improved access to public transportation.
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will operate the mobile clinics for one and a half years. They will provide health screenings such as blood pressure and cholesterol tests to transit passengers and nearby residents.
An estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay non-emergency medical care each year because of transportation issues.
(bizjournals, transit.dot.gov, nationalcenterformobilitymanagement.org, .bistatedev.org, ncsl.org, photo from facebook.com/STLMetro)
Germany to Use World’s First Hydrogen Train
In December 2017, Germany will launch the first ever passenger rail service powered by hydrogen. The service will use a new train by the French transit company Alstrom.
Alstrom introduced their new Coradia iLint train in Berlin in September during InnoTrans, which is the railway industry’s largest trade show with 2,955 exhibitors from 60 countries.
The incredibly quiet and environmentally friendly Coradia iLint is powered by hydrogen fuel cells that emit only steam and condensed water into the atmosphere. The train offers a zero-emissions alternative to Germany’s 4,000-strong fleet of diesel trains.
Germany will use the Coradia iLint on a 60-mile link between Buxtehude, a city lying just beyond Hamburg’s southern suburbs, and the small port and beach town of Cuxhaven. The German Federal Railway Authority Eisenbahn-Bundesamt will start the testing and approval process this fall.
(citylab.com, verge.com, innotrans.de, sciencealert.com, eba.bund.de, photo from alstom.com)
Local Fixed-Route Service
Blue Water Area Transit provides scheduled service along seven fixed routes that start at the new Transfer Center in downtown Port Huron and travel throughout Port Huron, as well as Fort Gratiot and Burtchville Townships. In July, 8,741 passengers rode on these buses, compared with 7,242 riders last July.
‘Til Next Time…
Jim Wilson, BWAT General Manager