The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams recognized six rural transit systems that exemplify good community service. The agencies received the Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation during the biannual National Conference on Rural and Intercity Bus Transportation in Breckenridge, Colo.
"These transit agencies have proven their dedication to helping people in rural America access jobs, schools, healthcare, and other opportunities every day," said FTA Acting Administrator Williams. "FTA commends them for doing what is truly life-changing work within their communities."
Since 1985, FTA has presented the Administrator’s Awards to rural transit agencies who have demonstrated their commitment to improving their communities’ infrastructure. The rural transit providers recognized by FTA are:
Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST), Calif. — Founded in 1981, MST provides bus transit service to a service area that spans one-fifth of the California coastline. MST has established partnerships with colleges and universities, including an agreement with California State University-Monterey Bay to allow students, faculty, and staff to ride MST lines for free. MST partners with senior centers to plan transit routes for the elderly population. Of the 58 transit routes, 12 directly access healthcare centers and hospitals, with one line designed specifically for veterans.
Wells County Council on Aging, Ind. — Wells County Council on Aging has provided transportation for residents in northeastern Indiana since 1980. The organization’s Wells on Wheels Public Transit (WOW) was established in 2005 and has provided close to half a million trips since its inception. In just one year — 2017 — WOW provided more than 14,000 work-related trips. WOW also serves a vital role in transporting clients to their medical appointments. In one recent month, WOW completed 2,767 medical trips.
North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD), N.M. — Established in 2004, NCRTD’s service area encompasses 70 communities across 10,100 square miles in north central New Mexico. Ridership has grown from 48,000 trips in its first year to 284,285 passenger trips in 2017. NCRTD coordinates with other transportation services to connect riders from Santa Fe to Albuquerque. Moreover, NCRTD continues to be a national model for working with tribes to secure funding and create transit programs to enhance quality of life, such as launching a bus route in partnership with the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
Crawford Area Transportation Authority (CATA), Penn. — Crawford County is an agricultural and manufacturing community in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania. In 1979, CATA began as a small rural operation providing fixed route and ADA paratransit services in the City of Meadville. It has transformed into a recognized leader in rural transit, managing a 65-vehicle fleet and a state-of-the-art maintenance facility. Ridership now exceeds over 1,000 passenger trips per day and over 390,000 passenger trips per year, including service to schools and medical appointments through its “LifeLine” route.
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS), S.C. — The only public hospital in the nation to be an FTA grantee, SRHS provides coordinated transportation to rural and urban areas using a door-to-door demand response system. SRHS provides access to a variety of services including healthcare, mental health, vocational rehabilitation, senior centers, veterans’ centers, jobs, and schools.
Prairie Hills Transit (PHT), S.D. — Prior to 1989, many communities in South Dakota were without transportation services. Since then, PHT has expanded to offer transit to the general public in six counties and 15 communities. PHT provides service to jobs, medical appointments, and schools. PHT services help many older adults live in their own homes and access medical and human service agency appointments.