Public transportation in Harrison County is becoming more user-friendly with the addition of new buses and vans equipped with wheelchair lifts.
On Friday Gov. Cecil H. Underwood presented representatives from the Central West Virginia Transit Authority with the keys to three new 24-passenger buses and two converted passenger vans.
The presentation was part of a special cabinet meeting in Bridgeport.
"I am pleased to present these vehicles that will improve the quality of life for countless residents throughout this region," Underwood said.
All of the vehicles have wheelchair lifts for the disabled and elderly.
"It is something that we needed very badly," said Harrison County Senior Center Board President Louis Iquinto. "The number of disabled people who ride the bus has gone up almost 200 percent. A lot of people can't get around without public transportation."
The new vehicles will need to be inspected before they are put into use, said an official from the transit authority. It is unclear when the new buses and vans will be available for use.
The total cost of the vehicles is $327,759.
The buses and vans were purchased by the state Division of Public Transit with assistance from the Federal Transit Administration.
Non-profit agencies and public transit systems in Marion, Monongalia, and Preston counties were also presented with wheelchair equipped buses and vans at the cabinet meeting, in order to provide better public transportation in North Central West Virginia.
Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1443.