Special van continues expanded schedule
Despite some confusion over the door-to-door service for special-needs riders, officials say the two-day schedule remains.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER
Published June 29, 2006
BROOKSVILLE - An extra day of transportation service per week is continuing for some residents in the sparsely populated eastern portion of the county.
After a three-month trial run that ended in March in the Hill 'N Dale and Ridge Manor areas, county transportation officials recently voted to keep the Trans-Hernando Para-Transit van running one more day a week.
On Tuesday morning, officials clarified the terms of the updated service at the transportation disadvantaged board meeting.
David Bearden, a rider and member of the board, said that he called for the service on the new day a few times and was told that it wasn't offered.
Two days a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, the van offers door-to-door service to residents in Hill 'N Dale. For those who live in Ridge Manor, the service is offered on Fridays.
Eligible riders include the elderly, Medicaid clients, people who are physically or mentally challenged and low-income residents.
Van rides cost $5 each way, and financial assistance is available. Riders are dropped off at Brooksville City Hall to catch county buses to other parts of Hernando.
Those needing to use the van must still call by noon one business day before to schedule a pickup. The service operates in two-hour windows from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The old service schedule made life hard for people like Bearden, a Hill 'N Dale resident, who is almost totally blind and can't drive. Bearden had to schedule doctor's appointments, grocery shopping and other errands only on Fridays.
The rest of the week, he asked for rides from friends or called taxis. Bearden says he still does - life doesn't happen only on Tuesdays or Fridays.
"Mooching or begging for rides gets old for everyone," he said. "And with gas prices, everyone is asking for a lot of money."
Bearden said he called to make an appointment a few Fridays ago and was told that service wasn't offered anymore. Some people might be confused, he said.
Although staff had been notified of the change, Trans-Hernando Director Richard Cook said he would clarify the schedule again.
Chandra Broadwater can be reached at email@example.com or 352 848-1432.