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Rural Public Transportation System on the Horizon

Rural Public Transportation System on the Horizon

Photo: Newsradio WTAX

A new way of getting around in rural areas of Sangamon and Menard counties is taking shape.

Sangamon County administrator Brian McFadden says they are securing funding and developing procedures to offer by-appointment public transportation to those not currently served.

McFadden says a key component will be to allow the future Sangamon/Menard Area Regional Transit (SMART) system to be able to interface with current public bus systems in central Illinois.

“One of the things we are anticipating with SMART, and we’ve applied for them (grants) and I think we have a good chance of getting them, is build transportation stations in south county, north county and east county to interact with other area systems,” says McFadden.

While they are planning routes and procedures, McFadden money still needs to be found for the vehicles. Operations could begin sometime next year.

HOW WOULD IT WORK? For example, someone in Chatham could arrange for a SMART van by calling the dispatch center 24-hours in advance to get a ride to a Springfield hospital. The dispatch center would aggregate other requests from the same area and take people to intermediate stops along the way. Return trips would also be arranged.

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