Ben Franklin Transit Celebrates 25 Years of Service - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ben Franklin Transit Celebrates 25 Years of Service

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RICHLAND, Wa.,--If you've lived in the Tri-Cities' for 10 years or even a week. You've probably paid a small fare to Ben Franklin Transit to help you get to your destination.

Ben Franklin Transit has been providing transportation services to the community for 25 years. Today, work crews tried to dig up a little history in the front lawn of their richland headquarters. They were looking for a Time Capsule. Jim Thoelke has been with the company since the beginning. He mentioned how many Ben Franklin vehicles were on the road in 1982.

"Started out, we only had about a dozen buses out on the road back in those early days, and ugh, our fleet was only about 15 total buses," said Thoelke.

A photograph from the Tri-City Herald says it all. May 10th, 1982-the first day of operation for Ben Franklin was a bad day, according to officials. One bus broke down while another experienced mechanical issues. Presently, Ben Franklin has over 300 vehicles consisting of 62 Buses, 67 Dial-a-Ride vehicles, and 200 Vanpool vans in its fleet.

Ridership is only getting stronger. In 2006, Ben Franklin had more than 4.5 million passengers.