UPDATE 5/13/2014 10:15 PM
With our economy's recession, more and more are using the bus system attached with the mass transit levy.
There are a lot of happy drivers and passengers of the Easy Rider bus system.
According to final, unofficial results, the mass transit levies in Parkersburg and Vienna overwhelmingly pass once again, with 77 percent in favor in Parkersburg and 81 percent in favor in Vienna.
The numbers are pretty similar to election day four years ago, when roughly three-fourths of voters in Parkersburg and Vienna agreed to pass the levies.
Bus drivers say the levies are the key to keeping city buses up and running.
Important to note, even with a new levy, the transit authority says their 50 cent fares may still increase.
UPDATE 5/13/2014 4:25 PM
Voters in Parkersburg and Vienna are deciding whether to renew the mass transit levy.
Two years ago, voters overwhelmingly approved the mass transit levy.
Tuesday night it's up for another vote.
The levy is the key to keeping city buses up and running.
Following the recession and rising gas prices, riding the bus became a necessity for some people in Parkersburg and Vienna.
Today, ridership continues to increase.
The Easy Rider system expects more than a half-million passengers this year.
But even with those good numbers, the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority still needs more money to match federal transit dollars, fuel costs and more government regulations.
Important to note, even with a new levy, the transit authority says fares may still increase.
A ride today will cost you 50 cents.
As a result of the recession and rising gas prices, riding the bus has become a necessity for more and more area residents.
"I ride it every day to work, and from work to home," says Ruth Johnson. "I haven't driven in about five years, so the bus is my transportation."
Robin Roberts was asked if it would it be an inconvenence if the bus wasn't available.
"Yeah, I'd have to walk. And it's a long way, because I have to go to Wal-Mart."
And ridership continues to increase. The system expects more than a half million riders on its system this year. That's an increase from just a couple of years ago.
Even with the increase, the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority needs the money from the mass transit levy to match federal transit dollars. and the system also has an increase in its own fuel costs, along with more government regulations it has to meet.
"In the past, in small rural or urban areas, they've never required safety officers," says transit system manager Tim Thomas. "Now, that's one thing we have to do. There are also changes for when we do transit asset management; there's new systems we have to implement there."
Even if it gets the new levy, Thomas says fares may increase some time in the future. a ride currently costs 50 cents. The average for other West Virginia cities is between 75 cents and a dollar.
The levy needs a 60% "yes" vote in both the cities of Parkersburg and Vienna, where it's on the May 13th ballot.
Two years ago, it was approved with close to a 75% vote in both cities.