How MCTA Started
In the early 1970's, a transportation committee was formed through the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, and in 1978, Monroe County Commissioners formed an exploratory commission to examine ways to obtain funding for a public bus route. At that time, it was determined that a public transportation authority would have to be developed in order to receive state and federal funding.
In the fall of 1979, the County Commissioners of Monroe County appointed 7 members to form a board of directors at Monroe County Transit Authority. Martha Kitchen who served as Chairman of the Transportation Committee was also elected as Chairman of the new Monroe County Transportation Authority. The authority started its operation with a 20 passenger 1947 GMC Transit Bus, an executive director and one administrative assistant. Mr. Phillip Gerghardt, of Pocono Auto, was subcontracted to maintain the operations for the transit authority at that time.
The Early Years
On Monday, October 15th 1979, the first route began at 7:00 am at the corner of Bridge and Miller Sts. in Stroudsburg. The first route was referred to as the "Inter-boro Loop" which primarily served the Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg business districts, the Stroud Mall, "East Stroudsburg State College," and "Pocono Hospital." The fare was $.25. On November 24, 1979, Saturday service was introduced for the holiday rush. Around the 1st of February in 1980, a second route, the "Fifth St. Loop," was introduced. It served downtown Stroudsburg, state agency offices on Phillips St. the East Stroudsburg industrial sector along Stokes Ave., and Eagle Valley Corners. The "Fifth St. Loop" connected with the "Inter-boro Loop."
The Middle Ages
In 1983, the Authority purchased 4 new, 35 passenger Neoplan Transit Buses in the amount of $630,000.00 with federal and state funds. The additional buses extended service to 3 routes, including service to Delaware Water Gap Borough.
In 1994, the Authority obtained a $1.4 million dollar grant to build its current facility in Scotrun. The facility was completed in 1998. It included a 6 vehicle repair bay, a three arm gantry bus wash bay and administration offices.
In 1997, MCTA acquired the Shared Ride program from the Area Agency on Aging. This program provides curb to curb transportation services for seniors 65 or older. For the next 12 years, service was limited to certain days of the week, depending on where the customer lived.
In 2006, MCTA through a grant from PennDOT, began providing Shared Ride service for Persons With Disabilities. This program has provided nearly 50,000 trips for enrolled individuals with disabilities in Monroe County who would have not otherwise have had access to public transportation.
In 2006, the MCTA took on a new look and branded itself, "The Pocono Pony." The new logo became a symbol for the lush green hills and the clean blue skies of the Pocono Mountains. MCTA, which started as a one bus show, has grown to a fleet of 15 public fixed route buses with 6 routes. As of November 2019, The Pocono Pony has a fleet of 42 Shared Ride vehicles that provide transportation under subsidized programs for seniors and people with special needs. Shared Ride offers transportation throughout all of Monroe County, as well as, regions in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
The Technological Revolution
In 2009, MCTA introduced four new Gillig brand buses to its fixed route fleet. Two of the buses are of the newly styled 'Bus Rapid Transit' design. Sleek lines and an aerodynamic body harken the new modernist approach to bus design from Europe (the buses are USA designed and built). The two other buses are designed to replicate the old-time trolleys of yesteryear, right to the brass bell. While they look great, they also have cutting edge hybrid electric diesel motor technology that uses energy generated when the bus applies its brakes to begin the initial acceleration after a stop. This technology should reduce the amount of diesel fuel used compared to other non-hybrid vehicles.
MCTA is leading the technological revolution with an automated fare collection system that uses smartcard technology to process and store fares and passes. This same system will be able to provide realitme stop prediction to internet savvy customers. MCTA provides online tools to help passengers identify the real-time location of their bus. Shared ride customers are able to lookup their active trip for the day and find out the real-time estimated arrival of their vehicle to their location.
In 2019, MCTA received the first three “CNG” compressed natural gas 35’ heavy duty buses. They will begin service in the spring of 2020.