FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — People in Emmitsburg, Maryland could soon see expanded shuttle services in the area.

Transit Services calls it a ‘lifeline service’ — to make sure people get where they need to go for free. It needs Frederick County to fund the program.

“Rural transit is not cheap to operate. It costs between $150 and $200 per hour, so we’re looking for additional funding to help expand how we can serve the residents of northern Frederick County,” said Jaime McKay, deputy director for Frederick County’s Transit Services.

The Frederick County shuttle currently serves Emmitsburg and Thurmont and travels into downtown Frederick for free, something that started during the pandemic to increase the equity of the services.

In a recent event held by the county’s transit services, officials heard from people living in Emmitsburg.

Neighbors asked for expanded shuttle services, so riders could get around town during middays and on the weekends.

Mount Saint Mary’s, a university in Emmitsburg, said it also wants improved services to shuttle students to and from campus and to jobs on the weekends.

“We heard a lot about needing to access health care and employment and certainly the way that people have traveled in Frederick County has changed a lot during the pandemic,” said McKay.

The county would have to pay for the proposed expanded services.

“Grant funding is so important to how we operate with available grant funding for every dollar that the county spends. it gets $4 back in transit service. when there is no grant funding or no additional grant funding, the county must fund that entire $4,” said Mckay.

Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater has promised to provide budget hearings in each of the five council districts, so the public can make suggestions.

The county council is expected to adopt the budget by May 31st of 2023.