The Holiday HOP pauses for a moment at one of the many stops on Fort Cavazos. (U.S. Army photo by Darren Cinatl, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
The Holiday HOP pauses for a moment at one of the many stops on Fort Cavazos. (U.S. Army photo by Darren Cinatl, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — The HOP initiated its first holiday transportation service here during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making several stops, to include the Copeland Center, the Casey Memorial Library and Phantom Warrior Lanes.

The service is scheduled for a second run over the winter holidays and will extend to include the motor pool areas.

Fort Cavazos officials partnered with the Hill Country Transit District to provide transportation on the installation during the holidays to get a feel for how the HOP will run on post in the future and help boost morale during the holiday season, which can be especially difficult for Soldiers so far away from home and family.

The holiday service is pilot for the upcoming Cavazos Connector, which will provide mass transit service on post and throughout the local community.

“The post was kind enough to find us a home here, which will be based out of Fort Cavazos for all of our Fort Cavazos transit needs,” said Derek Czapnik, transportation superintendent for the HOP, during the Red, White and You hiring event earlier this month.

“This is going to be a game changer,” he said.

Darrell Burtner, director of urban operations for HCTD, said the organization is looking forward to the collaboration.

“We’re excited, and we really feel that this can make a huge difference to family morale on post and logistics as far as getting people from point A to point B. We’re looking forward to working together.

“I think historically the Army has done a great job as far as transporting Soldiers, but the transportation options for family members and dependents have not been as strong,” he added. “That is really the focus of this, to give them more options of not only getting around on base but also connect into the transit system immediately off post at the gate.”

Burtner explained that the transit system will eventually enable Soldiers to get wherever they need to go on base and connect into the HOP service in town, “so they can go anywhere from Copperas Cove, all the way out to Temple and really anywhere in between.”

To make things even more convenient, the HOP will launch an app for riders to order transportation, much like Uber or Lyft.

In an effort to help get Soldiers to breakfast and other early morning obligations, the upcoming holiday HOP will start slightly earlier from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. There will be no services on Dec. 25 or Jan. 1, 2024.

The holiday HOP is free of charge to anyone with access to the installation.

HCTD is also looking to hire dependents, spouses and veterans to fill part-time driver positions starting in February 2024. Positions start at $18 hourly, offer flexibility and the security of only driving on the installation. Commercial driver’s licenses are not required for the position.

Visit takethehop.com for more information and to apply.