JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The City of Jonesboro announced Monday Michael Black as the new transit director for JETS.
Black has worked with the transit system for more than eight years and with the City of Jonesboro for nine.
The first thing he wants to tackle in his new role is funding.
"I want to look into other sources of funding," Black said. "Of course, that's one thing we've been looking for this whole time. We have plenty of grant money. We just need local match, and there are many different ways we can get that. I'm going to look at several different transit agencies throughout the state and across the country and try to get their advertising structure, see how they actually sell advertising on their vehicles and see if we can't implement that."
Black said there are also some additional grants he plans to look into.
"I'm looking to increase our funding so we can increase our service," Black said. "Steve and I had been working on a few projects. We were hoping to add a route this summer. Of course, the funding's just not there right now. Hopefully, we will have that soon."
Black said there's a need for an additional route.
"But right now we're at capacity," he said. "We are transporting as many people as we can in the time frame that we set up for our routes. Our on-time performance is not really good because we're starting to pick up so many people. And of course, that takes time every time you have to stop. Adding this one more route would add some service area plus take some stress off our two busiest routes. And that way we can increase our on-time performance and our service to the city."
Black is excited about this opportunity and ready to get to work.
"I feel great," Black said. "I'm ready to learn this side of the role. I know an extensive amount about transit. I've been with JETS for a little over eight years working on my ninth year with the city, and I'm excited to be here and take this over."
The JETS system currently has five routes in operation.
Black said they average anywhere from 1,100 to 1,400 riders a week.
"That number does not include our paratransit," Black said. "Our paratransit is a door-to-door service. That's another area where I would like to improve because the need for non-emergency medical transportation is continuing to grow. As the city grows, more people will have the need for that. There again, it takes funding. So, we're going to have to work on getting that taken care of so that we can take care of our citizens."
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