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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

Steps in the works to help save GPT

Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Photo)
A General Public Transportation Bus sits parked at the senior center on Wednesday.The service gets 700 riders a month.
(Laurie Sisk/Tribune)
If General Public Transportation can't raise about $9,000, by June 30, 2013, it will have to shut down. Meanwhile, City Manager Dave Martin and others are hoping to work toward a solution.

GPT's total operating costs are $108,000 a year. The service brings in an estimated $22,000-$24,000 of the net operating cost. A matching grant covers 50 percent, the state, 15 percent and GPT has to come up with the other 35 percent, or about $26,000, Bourbon County Senior Citizens Coordinator Jacqueline Sellers said.

The service is funded by a grant, an investment, the United Way and Bourbon County and Bourbon County. However, the investment has run out and the county has undergone budget cuts, so GPT has to come up with a little more than $9,000 to meet the grant for 2012-13 and stay afloat, Sellers said.

GPT, which is part of Bourbon County Senior Citizens, has two vans and a cutaway -- a larger bus able to accommodate wheelchairs, which take 700 riders a month around Fort Scott and three miles outside town on paved roads.

For many, it is their sole mode of transportation. Some 26 percent of people use GPT to go shopping, 19 percent for getting to and from medical or dental appointments, 11.5 percent for transportation to work and 23 percent for other reasons such as visiting family, hair appointments or car breakdowns.

"They stay steadily busy throughout the day. We start at 7:30 (a.m.) and go until 5 p.m.," Sellers said. Tuesday and Thursday are by appointment. Cost is $3 a ride or customers may purchase a bus pass for $30 entitling them to 12 rides. Good for six months, the pass provides two free rides.

Martin said he has received calls about how important the service is to the community. But he wants to make clear that GPT is not and has not been funded by the city.

"Everybody thinks the city just needs to jump in, but the city's never been responsible for it. They're confused since it's General Transportation that the city funded this and the city never has," Martin said. "I think the city is a vital part of trying to evaluate options of how we can try to keep this vital transportation (service) for our community."

He said a meeting is scheduled in January with himself, the GPT board and Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce. Martin said this will be a fact-finding gathering to help determine what options are available. Martin said meetings with people the service impacts will also be held to see if a solution can be reached.

The transportation service employs five people, including two drivers, two dispatchers and Sellers. An increase costs for vehicle insurance, new regulations, advertising, fuel, maintenance and mandatory training for drivers and managers has also taken a bite out of funds.

"I feel very optimistic that when we get our facts and get our options, we'll do everything we can to keep it going," but Martin said, he's not offering any guarantees.


Comments
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I am one of the people who need to have this bus. Failure is not an option as far as I'm concerned. The bus is a big part of this community. They have used the big bus to shuttle people to the Christmas in the park events and Halloween events. So, while the city might not be part of the funding they do benefit from the bus. During the Good old Days, people use it to get from one event to the other. Families use the bus, people going to work use it, it is for the entire public not just seniors or disabled.

Perhaps we can do some fun raisers or something. I don't want to die which I will do without this bus and I'm not alone.

-- Posted by freckles58 on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 6:27 PM

Perhaps they should look at where they can cut costs or consider a rate increase to cover their expenses. That's what other businesses have had to do in order to survive the poor economy. They may need to consider running one less day per week. The city had to come up with funds to keep the SRS office here. It shouldn't be up to them to continue to fund non-city owned/operated entities for the sake of keeping them going. Doing so will result in their having to increase taxes and folks will scream about that. Those who benefit from this service may need to step up & pay the additional costs if they want to continue this service. Although there may be some inconvenience, I doubt that freckles58 will "die" without the bus. You may need to seek out other options to get where you need to go.

-- Posted by Fort Scott Resident on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 9:52 PM

Since you don't know my situation, I can assure you I will die without the bus. There are no other options that I can see. If the bus is the only service in town that we can hire to take us to and from places, and we can't walk and bring supplies home. So, please, don't try and make light of a very dire situation for me. I'm betting you are still driving and not having to rely on anyone.

Maybe you would be so kind as to let us call you and drive us where we need to go when we need to go to the doctor, or the grocery store, or the post office or the bank or to the library or take a beloved pet the the vet or to work or where ever we need to go????????

-- Posted by freckles58 on Fri, Dec 28, 2012, at 1:38 PM


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