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Want to buy a bus ticket from Louisville to Lexington or Paducah? Forget about it. It's currently nearly impossible to take a bus from one Kentucky city to another. But a local company is out to change that.
Greyhound is still in business and its buses are still a common sight in downtown Louisville. But in recent years it has dropped many of its routes through Kentucky.
So to go from Louisville to Lexington, you first have to travel up to Cincinnati. For the first time in at least five years, a bus boarded passengers to Lexington Thursday.
Bill Wright, a member of the Kentucky Council for the Blind, was there to show support for service to Frankfort and Lexington. "It's extremely needed for people to go to Frankfort to take state tests for jobs."
The bus that left for Shelbyville, Frankfort, Versailles, and Lexington wasn't a Greyhound. Miller Trailways is the name of the company trying to restore bus service to many Kentucky cities. John Owen with Miller Trailways says, "Let's run Kentucky. Let's get these buses running back down the Parkway to Paducah and down to Henderson and up to Ashland."
Thursday's run was aimed at convincing transportation officials intercity bus service is needed and can be successful. While the state gets federal transportation funds to encourage city-to-city mass transit, it has been spending the money on other needs.
As the bus continues its route, Miller Trailways is also in Frankfort at a two-day state transporation conference where it has set up a hospitality room to do some lobbying. The company wants to market its route to students.
The first route John Miller wants to start begins in Evansville Indiana and runs through towns across Kentucky, ending at Huntington, West Virginia. He hopes towns on the route will support his application for federal money to get started. "We're trying to demonstrate the need. We're trying to show it's a viable solution and, additionally, we will need to make a case to people this is what these funds were intended for."
John Miller says Indiana transportation officials have been more welcoming than Kentucky's. His company is currently working with Hoosiers to restore bus service to cities between Indianapolis and South Bend.