Disabled Residents Complain About High Bus Fares - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/19/03

Disabled Residents Complain About High Bus Fares

Several disabled residents say Coast Transit Authority charges too much for their transportation. They ride a special bus that operates more like a taxi, providing door-to-door service for those in need.

The fares cost twice as much as a regular bus fare.

Lyda Allen runs the snack shop in the Biloxi post office building downtown. She gives CTA high marks for its special ADA bus service that takes her to and from work five days a week. Her only complaint is the cost of the roughly eight mile round trip.

"Eight dollars a day. And in this little business, a lot of days you don't make eight dollars," said Allen.

"It can become very expensive," said Lorenzo Peeples, a blind Gulfport man who shares the concerns about cost. The ADA bus costs two dollars per zone. He'd like to see lower rates or fewer zones.

"I'm not here to alleviate the transit system, because I utilize it. I would just like to see some better rates," he said.

Janice LeLeaux is also lobbying for lower fares.

"I mean after all, fair is fair. And that isn't fair," said LeLeaux.

She says if public awareness were greater, the transit authority might listen.

"We're hoping this will open the eyes of the public. So that other people will step forward and demand that something be done," she explained.

"It's tough to get the funding to provide this service. It's very expensive," said interim CTA directorm, Kevin Coggin.

He says the disparity in bus fares is easily explained. The ADA service requires more time to carry far fewer people. And time is money.

"We feel like the extra charge is actually still a good deal as opposed to a private provider, what these individuals would have to pay to a private provider. We feel like we're offering them excellent transportation for the price they're paying for it," he said.

Coggin says if fares for the ADA buses were cut, Coast Transit would be forced to drop the service altogether.

There are four "zones" in the CTA service area. The ADA bus costs two dollars per direction, per zone. The cost of a regular bus fare is one dollar per zone.

By Steve Phillips

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