Rabbit Transit buses gather at the Roosevelt Avenue headquarters Thursday in York City. The local transportation service is celebrating its 40th
Rabbit Transit buses gather at the Roosevelt Avenue headquarters Thursday in York City. The local transportation service is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a variety of special events for riders. (BILL KALINA — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

A lot has changed since Rabbit Transit put its first wheels on the ground in 1974.

"When we started, it was just a bus on a road," said Rich Farr, excutive director of the York-based transportation company.

Now, those buses are wired and tracked moment by moment. Riders can book trips online and pay their fares without cash — a convenience offered decades after Rabbit Transit made its first stop.

"It certainly isn't your grandfather's bus," Farr said.

To show riders all the transportation hub has to offer, Rabbit Transit is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a series of events throughout the year.

First event: The celebration kicks off Thursday when the company hosts Dump the Pump Day. Rabbit Transit is asking local residents to avoid the fuel pump and try different types of transportation.

"Try a bike or bus or walk, but give up the car and try an alternative form for a day," Farr said.

A month later, the company will offer passes for visitors and participants to use during the Can-Am Police-Fire Games in July.

In mid-summer, Rabbit Transit and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will launch FindMyRidePA, an online transportation service for veterans.

Veterans will be able to log on to findmyridepa.com and type in their starting location and destination, and the program will provide results for how to get from point A to point B. Options will include public transit, paratransit, volunteer vans and taxis.


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Also planned: Following that initiative, Rabbit Transit will roll out Try Transit Month in September, offering various promotions with partner agencies. And on Saturday, Nov. 1, free rides will be offered and the 40th anniversary celebration will culminate in a birthday party at Rabbit Transit's downtown Transfer Center at 213 W. King St.

"That's the hub where most of our riders make connections. Everyone is invited to attend," said Jenna Reedy, business development manager for Rabbit Transit.

Both at the birthday party and throughout the year, Rabbit Transit is trying to raise awareness.

"We want to let people know there's alternative transportation and we've been here for 40 years, and we're trying to have some fun doing that," Farr said.

Looking ahead: The company is also stressing the importance of transportation and making plans for the next 40 years.

A bipartisan transportation bill passed by state lawmakers in November has helped bring the transit authority's aging fleet into a state of good repair, but it still lacks the operating dollars to serve many parts of the county, Farr said.

For example, riders in Red Lion can get to Weis in York, but they can't ride a bus to a Weis in Red Lion.

"We still don't have routes to a lot of the shopping areas and housing developments in the suburbs," Farr said. "One thing that hasn't changed in the last four decades is we're servicing all the same routes we were 40 years ago."

— Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.