Buses are ready to roll at the Kent Central Gateway.
The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority begins bus service at the new, $20 million facility Monday.
"This is something I've been working on for eight years, personally, and it's been in the city's plans for even longer," said Bryan Smith, PARTA director of planning. "It will be a very exciting day to see buses go through there."
The KCG at South DePeyster and Erie streets is a crucial component in Kent's renovated downtown landscape as it provides the influx of potential patrons a place to park. As a connector between the city and Kent State University as well as providing a juncture in the pipeline between Akron and Cleveland, having the buses online is equally critical, Smith said.
Bus service will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
PARTA is launching a couple of changes in connection with the new bus stop.
The KCG will handle the PARTA free-fare zone -- formerly located at the C-Midway stop on the KSU campus -- until about the end of the month. The zone enables guests to ride all fixed-routes in Portage County for free.
When new electronic fare boxes are installed, that zone will be eliminated, and those same routes will then cost $2 instead of being free. Those daily passes will be good all day long on the fixed routes.
Besides the Akron Express route, a new, Cleveland Express route departing from the KCG will take riders to the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 10701 East Blvd., for the first time.
"It's an honor to serve our veterans, and we're happy to be able to add that to the routes," Smith said. "We added that so veterans can get from Portage County up to there in yet another way."
The bus service goes online Monday just one week after the KCG itself launched the pay structure in the parking deck.
For more information on passes, bus fares and routes, visit www.partaonline.org.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or email@example.com
Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier