It's been in the planning stages for several years, and today all of the work and discussions has paid off: there's a new bus service between Salcha and Fairbanks.
The White Line is finally on the road. The borough's Metropolitan Area Commuter System (MACS) launched its service between Fairbanks and Salcha bright and early Monday morning.
The borough has been working diligently with the Air Force to come up with a workable plan to provide transportation alternatives. "It provides our young airment who do not have vehicles, or family members because gas is so expensive, another opportunity to get into town, into Fairbanks," says Colonel Thomas D. Daack, Commander of the 354th Mission Support Group, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The White Route goes beyond Eielson. It will travel as far as the Salcha General Store. It will also be making a stop at The Knotty Shop, where we took a ride to Wednesday afternoon.
Margie Houlder lives in Salcha. She was glad to see the bus pull into the parking lot.
"And we're so excited the bus has come out here finally after all these years of the hard work getting it out here. People can finally get out of Salcha and get jobs and education. I'm just so excited about it," says Houlder.
Margie and other residents say they are looking forward to the opportunity to make a trip into Fairbanks without having to worry about driving, while at the same time, saving a lot of money at the pump.
The White Line will also provide an option for the younger generation who call Salcha home.
"This would give them an opportunity to go to town, spend the day, go to the movies, look for work," says Houlder. "I mean, it opens up so many doors in my mind for our community. It broadens our horizons, I think, you know?"
"Riding the borough bus from The Knotty Shop to Fairbanks will take 45-50 minutes. And while that may seem like a long time, you will save money in the long run."
A daily pass is $3.00, while monthly passes are $36. There are also military discounts. Quite a bit of savings when gas prices are hovering around $4.15/gallon.