- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - Meridian officials are preparing to sign an agreement to bring an on-demand public transportation system to the city.

It will be operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians through its Choctaw Regional Transportation and Maintenance Facility. The regional transportation system presently operates in 15 Mississippi counties.

The city’s public bus system was shut down three years ago. Officials said at the time there was not enough funding to keep it running.

The city council voted Tuesday to allow Mayor Percy Bland to sign a contract with the tribe. Once the contract is signed, bus service could begin within 60 days from that time. The cost to the city will be $75,000.

“This is something we’ve talked a lot about, and I’m very proud the council approved it,” Bland said.

Jeremy Bell, mobility manager for the Transportation and Maintenance Facility, said there are no set bus routes.

“What a client would do is call us 24 hours ahead. It is a flexible, demand response. For that we will charge $3 for each way or $6 for a round trip.

“We’re expecting 15 (passengers) a day,” Bell said.

Bell said the system will operate out of the Union Station Bus terminal.

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