By ABBY SOUZA
After her two-year battle, Hope Hill of Sonora will be glad to step foot onto a Greyhound bus when it rolls into town Dec. 2.
She will be one of many, she thinks, who will take advantage of the transportation in and out of the foothills when the routes into and out of town are restored.
"There are a lot of older people who have no way of getting in and out of the county," Hill said.
For many senior citizens who no longer drive, the new bus will offer rides to out-of-town doctor's appointments, larger shopping centers and family or friends' homes.
"It opens up all kinds of opportunities for these people," said Bev Breed of Sierra Foothills Senior Management
Breed said Foothills Senior Management offers rides down to the San Joaquin Valley, but has to limit the service to medical visits and other necessary trips.
"We know there's a need for this," Breed said of bus service.
Seniors have been turned away from her group's services because of high demand.
Soon, she said, those people will have the option of taking the bus.
Foothill students taking classes at Modesto Junior College or other valley trade schools will also be able to count on daily rides to class.
Greyhound officials said the buses will be able to carry passenger's bikes, which might also be beneficial to students.
As well as transporting people out of the county, many tourist organizations are looking forward to the bus routes bringing people in.
"We get calls about Greyhound service in the area and people are disappointed when they hear we don't have it," said Dinah Carson, a travel agent with Gold Country Travel in Sonora. "I think this will be a real boost."
Hill said she once heard a travel agent say she could send people all over the world, but couldn't get them in and out of Tuolumne County.
With the bus service, Hope and Greyhound officials believe the county will be easier to access from airports and train stations, bringing people from all over the globe into the area.