Commission hears issues raised about PAT system

Published 8:24 pm Monday, May 23, 2011

Pike County commissioners listened as concerns were raised about the efficiency of the Pike Area Transit System during Monday night’s meeting.

Annette Robinson-Benson, a Troy resident who frequents the local transit system, expressed concerns she has with the system and said she believes there is room for improvement.

“One of the problems is, a rider has to call a full 24 hours before the time they need to be picked up. So, if I needed a ride tomorrow, then I have to call today before 3 p.m. My thing is, if I utilize this service everyday, on a consistent basis, then why do I have to call everyday to get my ride for the next day,” Robinson-Benson said. “Also, there aren’t enough drivers to service the people, most of the buses are broken down a lot and we don’t have any evening and holiday services.”

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The various problems Robinson-Benson addressed are problems she said that need to be fixed.

“It’s not being run like a public transportation service should be run,” Robinson-Benson said. “At least, it’s not like the public transportation system I’m used to.”

Robinson-Benson said her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, had an excellent public transportation system and feels Troy’s public transit system could be every bit as good if the problems with the services provided are addressed.

One of the additions to Troy’s transportation system Robinson-Benson said she would like to see is the addition of a few bus stops.

“There are no bus stops, instead they come to your home,” Robinson-Benson said. “I’ve never known for a public transportation system to come to your home and pick you up. I understand if, for example, you are a dialysis patient and aren’t able to go to the bus stop, but if you are able to go to the bus stop, then there ought to be bus stops.”

Robinson-Benson also said there were a few customer service issues she had, but that the program itself is not altogether bad.

“I think it’s a great program, but they have to work on improving it,” Robinson-Benson said. “They haven’t been working on it to improve it for the last three years since I’ve been using the service.”

Walter Starks, driver for the Pike Area Transit System, said he agrees with Robinson-Benson that there are some problems with the system, but said he has a slightly different perspective on the issues.

“We have to work the whole Pike County and when we only have four buses trying to serve the whole county, it’s kind of hard,” Starks said. “She said we need more drivers and we do, but until the city and the county decide to give us more money so we can hire more drivers, then we could do more.”

Starks said he feels as though the transit system was more or less an experiment to see how the system would work and said the transit does not have the support it needs.

“We need support from all the commissioners, the councilmen and the mayor,” Starks said. “For all of the meetings and everything I have attended, all I have seen are two or three of the county commissioners present. You can’t really solve anything with two or three people, we need more.”

Starks said he believes a board would serve the interest of the local area transit by helping to address perceived inefficiencies.

“A board would help us to plan, so we can do better,” Starks said. “But, what we have now, it’s kind of hard for us.”

Starks said he has driven for the transit system for four years and attributes many of the problems people have with the transit system more to a lack of support than many of the issues Robinson-Benson mentioned.

“The program needs improvement,” Starks said. “We need more personnel, instead of just a couple of people, because a couple of people can’t do all the work for the whole county. If we could get an organized committee or a board, then we could make suggestions and they could implement them.”

The next scheduled county commission meeting is June 13.