Pike Area Transit System aims to serve community

Published 6:37 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pike Area Transit System has a fleet of 8 buses that serves the county. The system was created in 2007 and serves more than 100 people every day. Fares range from $2 to $3 dollars one way. (April Garon)

Pike Area Transit System has a fleet of 8 buses that serves the county. The system was created in 2007 and serves more than 100 people every day. Fares range from $2 to $3 dollars one way. (April Garon)

More than 100 people rely on the Pike Area Transit System to get to their jobs, doctors appointments and other obligations every day.

Troy Resident Robert Youngblood has been a regular client of the program since its creation in 2007. He is one of about 30 regulars who have been with the program since the beginning.

“I understand what it is to not have a vehicle,” Robert Youngblood said. “(With PAT) I feel independent and don’t have to bother my family members. That’s very personal for me. The drivers never leave me stranded. They help me get to work early—I’m the first one there and they get me there on time.”

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65 percent of people who use the service don’t have any other mode of transportation available to them, according to Director Donta Frazier.

“ The others that use it see it as a better means of transportation, with rising gas prices, as compared with $2-3 one way fare,” Frazier said.

The transportation system has grown since 2007, adding five buses to its fleet, adding to the original three. Through a federal ARRA grant, the program will recieve a ninth bus by September that required no match funds from local entities.

Youngblood said he has seen a definite improvement in service through the years.

“Now they have more experienced drivers and more buses,” Youngblood said.

Funds collected from fares have increased from $26 to $30 daily in 2007 and 2008 to $150 or more currently.

“Some days we can see up to $300 in farebox funds,” Frazier said.

Frazier said he is working to eventually expand the service to accommodate individuals that need to go outside of Pike County, especially those that need medical treatments that require travel to places like Montgomery.

Three full time drivers are employed by PAT, as well as five part time drivers, two administrative staffers and the director.

The director thanked the City of Troy, City of Brundidge, and the Pike County Commission for their continued support.

“We would not exist without those entities,” Frazier said.

Fraizer said that 75 percent of PAT clients are from rural areas in the county, with many from Brundidge and Goshen and other communities. The other 25 percent are Troy residents.

Many clients rely on the service to get back and forth from their workplaces, according to Fraizer. Workplaces include Wiley-Sanders, Wayne Feed, Southern Classic Foods, Walmart, Supreme Oil, and restaurants.

PAT operates on a 24 hour demand-response route system, meaning clients are picked up from their homes rather than at bus stops. PAT does not utilize bus stops because the county didn’t qualify for fixed routes (which include bus stops) under the grants awarded to begin the program.

“Most of the 40 transportation systems in the state of Alabama are demand response routes,” Frazier said. “It is rare to have fixed routes, except in larger metropolitan cities.”

To learn more about PAT or to schedule a ride, call 334-670-2451. PAT operates on a 24 hour demand-response route system. This means that you must call the day before you need a ride to schedule it. To schedule a ride, call between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to schedule a ride for the next day. Give your name, address, where you need to go, and if you need to be picked up from the location.

One way fares are $2 for zero to nine miles and $3 for 10-20 miles. If traveling more than 20 miles, call PAT to calculate the price.

Fraizer said PAT is looking to grow its new pass program. Passes are $70 per month, and $60 per month for seniors. The pass provides unlimited rides for the month.

“Soon we will have a drawing for pass holders that have a certain amount of punches on their card,” Frazier said. “The winner of the drawing will receive a free month pass.”

Fraizer also wants Troy University students to be aware of the service, especially those who live off campus that do not have transportation available to them.