John Mountz has been riding the AMTRAN buses for eleven years, ever since he moved back east from California. “Having grown up in Tyrone, I didn't even know Altoona had bus service,” said John. “When I found out about it, I started riding and I’ve been riding ever since.”
John is an Assistant Manager at the Altoona Ponderosa Steak House at Park Hills Plaza. To get to and from work, John mostly rides the #5 Pleasant Valley and the #14 Night Owl routes.
When giving the reasons why he rides the bus, John lists “convenience” near the top. In addition to the buses being convenient to his workplace and schedule, John likes the “easy connections” that the AMTRAN routes provide. He is a cancer survivor, having recently completed treatments. During that period, he relied on the bus to get him to and from his appointments at the Altoona Hospital.
John's favorite driver is Robin who often drives the Pleasant Valley route when John is on his way to work. John says, “Robin is one of the friendliest drivers - but I really like them all.”
Like most young people these days, AMTRAN customer Justin Hickox knows all about e-mail and the internet. In fact, it was Justin’s response to the Customer Comment Card section on AMTRAN’s website that brought him to the attention of AMTRAN staff. Justin wrote: “If it wasn’t for the buses being on time, I would be late for work every day, and I probably wouldn’t have a job.”
Justin is an 18 year old recent graduate of Penn Cambria High School. He works for Private Care Resources, Inc., a group that specializes in in-home care for the elderly. This job takes him to various parts of the city and surrounding area. He has had great success in figuring out the AMTRAN routes and schedules and using the bus to get to and from most of his assignments.
Justin says he especially appreciates how friendly the AMTRAN drivers and staff have been to him in the relatively short time he has been a rider. His favorite driver is Sam - one of AMTRAN’s senior and most experienced operators. Sam is usually driving the #3 Third Avenue route which goes near where Justin lives. Justin likes Sam’s stories and how he always seems to have a good attitude. He also wanted to make it clear that he likes all the AMTRAN drivers - not just Sam.
Being virtually an every day rider, Justin admits that his next step will be to start buying AMTRAN's monthly pass. “With the price of gas, it’s hard to believe that I could get pretty much anywhere I need to go all month for only $34!” he said.
Like a lot of AMTRAN customers, Roseanne McNally starts her regular bus trip downtown - on 17th Street - and ends it at the Logan Valley Mall. Unlike some of her fellow passengers though, she's not going shopping. Instead, five days a week, Roseanne gets off the bus at the Mall and walks across Goods Lane to the Hampton Inn to go to work.
Roseanne is a student in the Life Skills program in the Altoona School District and her "regular" school day consists of putting in a day of hard work at the hotel. She cleans bathrooms, laundry, dishes - anything and everything. For some of us, this might not seem so attractive. But Roseanne actually loves her job. In fact, her supervisors say that she works harder than anyone else in the program. So hard that lately, she's been getting some Wednesdays off - so other students can get a chance to get some experience.
Roseanne says she likes the AMTRAN bus a lot. Roseanne's mother, Pat, really appreciates the bus service too. She's concerned that cuts in service will hurt people with mobility limitations - people who can't drive a car for one reason or another - the most.
Bob Dubbs is a familiar face to AMTRAN drivers and customers. He has been riding AMTRAN buses for 14 years. He was one of the original residents of the Woodrow Wilson Apartments in Garden Heights and has been riding the bus since he moved in.
Bob takes the bus almost every day to his volunteer job at an adult day care or to Logan Valley Mall and Pleasant Valley Shopping Center. He says that he doesn’t like staying at home and staring at four walls. He really appreciates the freedom that the bus gives him.
Bob also appreciates AMTRAN’s drivers. “They are a great group of people,” he says. “In bigger cities, you feel like a number. Those drivers never say hello or good-bye. In Altoona, the drivers treat their customers like family.”
Bob says that AMTRAN’s new service plan works well for him. He has shorter trips now and gets where he need to go more quickly than before.
Unfortunately, Bob passed away recently. However, we are keeping his story and his picture posted as a tribute to a loyal and long-standing customer.
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