Shuttle service to Bitburg Annex ends Aug. 1

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- The shuttle service between Spangdahlem Air Base and Bitburg Annex was established in 2002 as a way to transport Airmen to and from the two bases on official business.

The current ridership of family members and civilians does not meet the Air Force Instruction requirements; therefore, shuttle services will be discontinued Aug. 1.

According to Air Force Instruction 24-301, Chapter 3, paragraph 3.58, shuttle bus services exist to provide support on or between installations to transport military members and Department of Defense employees between offices and work areas of the installation or activity during designated hours when justified by the ridership.

"It's important our Saber family understand that 85 percent of us live off base. So, the vast majority of our families have not benefitted from this legacy transportation service, and instead have found alternative methods for fulfilling their family transportation requirements," said Col. Christopher Weggeman, 52nd Fighter Wing commander.

Family members are permitted to use shuttle services on a space-available basis for transportation as long as a minimum of 50 percent of passengers are active-duty members on official business.

"Our current ridership on the shuttle is nearly 100 percent family members and civilians, falling far short of the 50 percent active-duty ridership required by our Air Force instructions. We can no longer legally provide the Bitburg shuttle service," Weggeman said.

"We continued the shuttle service as long as possible, but with operations moving from Bitburg to Spangdahlem, the need for official business travel has decreased," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Lahrman, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of vehicle operations control center.

The option of a non-appropriated funds shuttle has been proposed, however, NAF operations cannot operate at a financial loss, which means running a NAF shuttle is cost prohibitive.

"We researched providing a NAF shuttle service for our family members and civilians, however the operating cost for this service per rider each way is quite expensive, in excess of $12 each way," Weggeman said.

A number of alternative modes of transportation are currently available for those in need once the shuttle services stop.

The Ride Share program is available for common access card holders via the 52nd Medical Group's Sharepoint site at \\Spmdm02\52fw shared\52mdg\external\Ride-Share Sign-Up! The site allows Airmen to post when and where they need to be picked up or dropped off so they can get to or from work, said Capt. Nicole Steiner, environmental success team transportation lead.

Co-workers and sponsors can also provide transportation for Airmen and family members who do not have a vehicle.

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools activity bus is available for students involved in after-school activities.

The on-base shuttle at Spangdahlem will continue to operate unaffected.

For more information regarding the Bitburg shuttle termination, call the 52nd LRS Customer Service Advocate Line at DSN 452-5455.