By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
During a recent trip to Winn-Dixie, County Commissioner Ronnie Moore, who also serves on the Transportation Disadvantaged Committee, decided on that location to take a ride on Big Bend Transit’s In-Town Shuttle and talk to some of the people who use the service and see how they would be affected if the bus were no longer available. The shuttle has suffered cutbacks in funding as grants have expired, and has already cut back its hours of operation to save money, operating only during hours of peak use.
“We have a diverse group of people less fortunate, in that they are without transportation,” Moore told fellow commissioners. Among those he spoke to were an 80-year-old lady who schedules all of her doctor appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, because those are the days that the shuttle operates, and another elderly gentleman who was grocery shopping for his wife at home.
“It’s needed,” he said. “And I think it’s a big plus if we can fund it.” It would fill a needed gap in the social services area for county residents without any other means to get to grocery stores, doctor’s offices, or even to work.
Moore had been working with the City Commission to see if the city would be able to put up half the funds needed, but since the city could not make that commitment, Moore recommended that the county kick in the entire $10,000 necessary before the June 1 deadline, in order to keep the shuttle running for another year.
The County Commission agreed, and approved the measure to continue funding the shuttle for one more year. The money would come from the County’s Fiscally Constrained Fund.