- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

CIMARRON, Kan. (AP) - A western Kansas county has a new transportation service organized to help residents get to appointments, visit friends or collect their groceries.

Gray County Transit is a door-to-door minivan service administered by Dodge City’s R-Tran Public Transportation, under the Dodge City Parks and Recreation Department. The project, which got underway recently, is funded through a Federal Rural Transportation Grant and state Rural Transportation money that was matched by Gray County, the Hutchinson News (https://bit.ly/1TcDY7v ) reported.

Organizers hope the “T” will grow into a popular service in this county of about 6,000 residents. There are currently two part-time drivers, who split the day’s duties. Residents have been working on the program for several years.

The service offers $1 fares, as well as a $15 monthly pass for unlimited rides. The van, which has to be booked ahead of time, operates all over Gray County, from Cimarron to Ingalls, Montezuma, Copeland and Ensign.

“It’s designed for a small, rural county,” said Kathleen Holt, co-chair of Gray County Economic Development and Gray County Transit liaison. “We have an advisory committee designed to collect feedback and ideas and shape the program.”

Holt said one woman was excited because she’d be able to visit her friends in Montezuma once a week now rather than once a month. Plus, she’d stopped visiting because she had grown uncertain about her driving.

Ensign, Copeland and Ingalls also don’t have grocery stores, so residents in those towns most likely will use the van to shop in Cimarron.

Holt believes the transit service also will enable older residents to age “in place” in Gray County. And although they decided to begin small, Holt imagines the service will grow quickly.

Bernice Redger plans to ride the “T, telling the newspaper that she won’t have to depend on her friend for rides to the Senior Center for lunch.

“I won’t feel obligated to her,” Redger said.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com


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