By Nathan Van Schaik, USAG Schweinfurt Public AffairsDecember 18, 2013
SCHWEINFURT, Germany (Dec. 18, 2013) -- The garrison's installation transportation office announced that it is ending the community's installation shuttle route on Sundays beginning in January.
This decrease in service is a response to the shrinking community population and subsequent decline in weekend shuttle bus riders, said 1st Lt. Andrew Mathis, the operations officer for the garrison's logistics directorate, now known as the Logistics Readiness Center.
Running the shuttle only six days a week represents a phased approach to scale back shuttle service as the population dwindles due to the garrison's closure in September 2014. A drop in ridership first prompted garrison officials in September 2013 to reduce overall shuttle runs.
"Our mission is to deliver installation services and we're making every effort to ensure our community gets to where they need to go," said the director of the Logistics Readiness Center, Tommy Harrison, who oversees the transportation office. "But we need to get lean as we approach the final stages of closure. Our decision to drop Sundays from our schedule was made with an eye on using the Army's money responsibly and wisely."
In the past year the Schweinfurt military community has shrunk from about 10,000 to fewer than 3,000 Soldiers, family members, and U.S. and local national employees.
Shuttle ridership has taken a proportionate dip. In the past five months, the number of riders using the shuttle has dropped 75 percent. And for the month of November, the shuttle was picking up on average one rider for each of the eight runs on Sundays, according to numbers released by the garrison's LRC transportation officer, Klaus Schaupp. That coupled with the $600-a-day bill to operate the bus every Sunday aided in the decision to cease Sunday operations.
While Schweinfurt is one of only three Army garrisons in Germany to provide weekend shuttle service -- the others include Army garrisons at Grafenwoehr and Stuttgart -- it operates the shuttle in strict compliance to Army regulation.
"In accordance with AR 58-1 and AE 58-1, shuttle bus services are provided to transport enlisted Soldiers traveling between troop billets, places of duty, dining facilities and when the commander determines that the travel is incident to the performance of duty," Harrison said.
No other changes have been made to the shuttle's schedule. But riders should expect to see the end of all weekend and holiday runs as the next phase in the drawdown of shuttle service.