Public transit rolling in to Corning

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

CORNING, AR (KAIT) - Trips to the doctor, the beauty shop, a friend's house, or even the grocery store may seem trivial to some, but for others these types of outings are almost impossible with no way to get there.  A public transit system is something only bigger cities can usually support.  One community in Region 8 will soon be joining two other areas in providing transportation for residents.

"It's something this town really needs," said Kathleen Rogers.

The roads through Corning stay busy but a new plan could take some cars off the roadways.

"They're going to be able to get transportation at a real economical price to the places they need to go," said Black River Area Development Executive Director Jim Jansen.

The Black River Area Development Corporation already has public transportation systems in place in Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and Pocahontas.

"BRAD in Pocahontas will dispatch a driver out to them come to their house and get them take them where they need to go then when they need to go call back again and they'll come back and get them," said Corning Mayor Dwayne Phelan.

Once the system is up and running they will start taking calls at 8:30 a.m. and stop taking calls at 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at a cost of $1 a trip.  Jansen said it costs around $60,000 a year to run buses for a city.  Fifty percent of the funding comes from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department through a grant they get every year.

"There's not a lot of money for funding and not money for expansion so there are lots of areas in Arkansas that do not have public transportation in the rural area at all," said Jansen.

Mayor Phelan says he thinks this system will flourish in his city. 

"When you can improve things for the community you do it without even thinking," said Phelan.

"I think it would be a lot easier than having to pay $10 or $15 for gas just to get around town," said Brandy Flores.

"I have a paralyzed sister-in-law and she doesn't get to get out much unless it's for doctor's appointments and she has to have people come to the house to do her hair and this way she can go shopping," said Rogers.

The city of Corning is providing a building for BRAD to use to store their buses in and to operate out of.

Once the system kicks off on April 5th Corning residents will call 1-888-723-4640 to get a ride.  You will need to provide your name, address, and destination to the BRAD Public Transit Dispatcher and your information will be given to the driver.

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