PATS transports residents

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2010

Troy’s James Jackson became disabled when he was 56-years-old. Now, a regular dialysis patient, Jackson has the need to go weekly to the doctor’s office.

Thanks to the Pike Area Transit System, though, transportation is not one of Jackson’s voids.

And for many others like him, it’s the same story.

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“On a day-to-day basis, it’s pretty much the same people,” said Angela Munn, a driver for the PATS.

Many of the buses’ passengers, like Jackson, have the needs to go to regular doctor’s visits. Some are elderly and don’t drive. Others are younger and just in need of transportation back and forth to work, Munn said.

But, regardless of the need, PATS provides transportation to anyone, anywhere in Pike County.

Soon that may be extended even beyond the county lines.

PATS Director Dante Frazier said the system, run by a collaboration of Troy, Brundidge and Pike County government, has discussed transporting residents to Montgomery, after a large number of people have requested it.

“We’re asking for them to call into the office this month and give us ideas or suggestions of where they’d like to go,” Frazier said.

Frazier said he hopes the bus system will begin transporting outside the county in the next month. For now, he would like those who may be interested in the service to let him know when they might need that transportation.

“There would only be a few days out of the week we’d be able to take those people to where they want to go,” Frazier said.

The PATS program was started three years ago, after some evacuees from Hurricane Katrina found themselves relocated in Troy and without transportation, Frazier said.

So, the cities of Troy and Brundidge and Pike County came together to change that.

“We fail to realize how many people need transportation and don’t have it,” Frazier said. “At the beginning, we had maybe 50 to 60 people a week. Now, we probably have 50 to 60 people a day.”

This bus system doesn’t work the same as many methods of public transportations, with set routes and destinations.

Frazier said anyone who wishes to ride the bus, should call a day ahead and schedule.

There is also no set fee for the bus rides. It varies based on where someone is coming from, and where that person is headed to.

“We charge $2, $3 or $4. All cost depends on mileage,” Frazier said.

Many of the passengers, don’t seem to mind paying those costs, Munn said.

“There was a lady who got on the bus and said she was glad because she had been paying someone $20 just to get to Troy,” Munn said.

If the bus system begins traveling to Montgomery, Frazier said those trips would have increased fees.

Currently, there are four busses, three with wheelchair accessibility and one 25-passener bus.