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On-demand transportation service launches in Monroe County

Haley O'Brien

Monroe County’s Pocono Pony offers fixed bus routes, public rideshare programs, and now an on-demand service called Pocono Pony Plus.

The Monroe County Transit Authority (MCTA) introduced the program this month.

“This is different because we will go to your house or go to the location where you request it,” MCTA Chief Executive Officer Richard Schlameuss said.

Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., passengers can request a ride to and from anywhere within the designated areas.

Pocono Pony Plus operates in two zones, the Pocono Summit Connector and Triboro Connector. They include Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, Delaware Water Gap, Mount Pocono, and Pocono Summit. The cost is $2 per passenger per ride, and riders can pay cash or credit.

Schlameuss says this is bridging a gap for people who need a lift to a Pocono Pony bus stop.

“By making it accessible to folks to use it as a transfer opportunity, from the areas that are not easily accessible by the fixed route to places where they can get to it, it solves that last mile problem,” he said.

The MCTA bought five vans that seat seven. They are ADA compliant and service animals are welcome. Riders can request a ride through the free Pocono Pony Plus app or call MCTA at 570-839-6282, press 1, then schedule a trip with a reservation agent.

The app keeps users in the know on the exact locations of the Pocono Pony fixed route fleet.

“Real-time data for our fixed route service is incredibly important because it gives our customers the comfort and knowledge of knowing that the bus will be here, it might be running five minutes late, but you know where the bus is,” Schlameuss said. “It will tell you how long it takes to get to the bus stop, when to leave where you are to walk to the bus, what time the bus will be there, and then how long that trip should take.”

Helen Yanulus, Grants and Communications Director at MCTA, says it can be really handy in poor weather.

“Or if it’s really humid and hot, you can just use this information, this technology, so that you don’t have to stay at that bus stop any longer than you need to,” she said. “In a rural situation, you don’t really want to be standing there. It’s not like you’re right in the middle of the cities where there’s lobbies and all these places to run off to in bad weather.”