The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority or EMTA, has grown considerably since it began operating in 1966.

EMTA maintains 32 routes around Erie County, providing 2.7 million trips every year.

Fares help pay the bills.

But the bus company also gets federal, state, county and city subsidies.

In recent years, state and federal money has helped fund a $70 million  project to basically build an entire new home for the transit authority.

Much of the work is done.

But crews are finishing up work on a parking ramp and compressed natural gas fueling station.

Managers say the project and increased ridership signal strong growth.

Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Peterson said, "I see us as possibly becoming the third largest system instead of the fourth largest transit company in Pennsylvania."

Managers and drivers agree the biggest challenge they face is dealing with Erie's winter weather.