Mass transit drought ends for Delaware City as bus service returns

When Delaware City was last served by public transit gas cost about 40-cents a gallon, a stamp was eight-cents, and a new home was going for under $26-thousand. 

The city at the junction of the C-&-D Canal and the Delaware River will now get a stop on the DART fixed route system for the first time in over 40 years. 

DART, the  Department of Natural Resources and the Delaware Department of Transportation Monday announced a one-year pilot program to serve the town’s commuters, residents, shoppers and visitors.  DNREC also says with more riders on public transit, vehicle emissions can be reduced resulting in some improvement to the air quality.

“We received petitions with over 200 signatures from people who say they’re going to ride,” Delaware Transit Corporation Executive Director Stephen Kingsberry said.  “There is a lot of interest.”

The lack of bus service was cited as Delaware City’s top transportation concern in a 2009 survey, according to the regional planning agency WILMAPCO (Wilmington Area Planning Council). 

Delaware City Mayor John Buccheit said the “Number 25” route will also help alleviate the growing problems of traffic and parking in the town.  “A lot of residents are excited because we’re very environmentally friendly here also,” Buccheit added.

Initial funding for the one-year pilot program comes from DNREC’s Community Environmental Project Fund.  DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara says fines collected for pollution violations helps pay for projects that benefit public health and the environment.

The daily bus runs between Delaware City and Wilmington, and is also convenient to the refinery, which is being reopened by PBF Energy after being shut down by former owners Valero Energy.

“Our goal is with so many new businesses opening up on Main Street in Delaware City as well as the refinery restarting, there are a lot of folks who live and work in Delaware City that can take advantage of this,” O’Mara said.

The grant to start the bus service totaled $187,000 for one year.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.