Frustrations grow over lengthy repairs to senior center bus

Frustrations grow over lengthy repairs to senior center bus

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The good times roll as easy as dice at the Long Beach Senior Center. It’s a place for these seniors to escape their homes and a place to socialize.

“It breaks up my day for me. And I’m sure it breaks up the days for everybody here. Otherwise, it’s like oh, another day," said Shirly Olsen.

“That’s my friend. That’s my friend. All of them is my friend," said Maria Abella, talking about the different friendships she’s made at the center.

But for the past two months, it’s been harder for some to get here.

“We use the bus five days a week when the bus is running, but it hasn’t run in a couple months now," said Mary Laborde.

That’s because an engine leak is keeping the center’s 18-passenger shuttle bus in the repair shop. It’s not an easy problem to fix, making for an agonizing wait. For some, the bus is the only available transportation to and from the senior citizen center.

“They think it’s fixed. They bring it, it’s got a leak. They think it’s fixed. They bring it, it’s got a leak," said Betty Thorpe.

“Problem should have been fixed in a month, or six weeks at the most.” said Gail Ladner.

Center director Robert Paul said they’re working to get it back on the road as soon as possible, even though the repairs are quickly adding up.

“We’ve kept the mayor and city hall aware of the situation with the bus. And they’ve opened up their checkbook and said fix it, whatever it takes to fix it," said Paul.

In January, the center plans to apply for an MDOT grant to buy a new bus, the same one used to purchase the center’s current bus. But until then, or until the current one is fixed, the seniors are having to play with the hand that’s dealt.

Many, like one mom and son pair, are relying on friends and family to get to the center.

“He has to make two trips. To bring Tommy and come back and get me. And I give him 20 dollars a week to get here," said Vidalea Ladner.

All of them anxious to see this bus rolling again.

“It’s all in God’s hands, and I’m not too worried about it. But I know it’s all going to work out for the good," said Alberta Curtis.

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