CTA Offers Free Rides To Some FEMA Park Residents

A Coast Transit Authority van rolled up to the Coastal Health Family Center in Gulfport, Monday morning, to pick up its first two passengers - Byron and Deena Kinsey. After the storm, FEMA moved the Kinseys to the Scenic Trails R.V. Park on the corner of Highway 53 and 603. The couple says living farther out poses a big challenge to getting around, especially since they're down to one vehicle.

"I'm an iron worker and a house builder, and I really don't have time to take her everywhere," Byron Kinsey said.

A transportation grant from the Children's Health Fund out of New York got the wheels rolling on this project.

"We went to Kevin at CTA and presented it to him.  He was very excited about it and that's when we found out he had a couple of extra vans," said Jennifer Knight with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Children's Health Project.

The van's route also includes stops to places like the Win Job Center and grocery stores.

"I spread the word, cause they're always asking me to take them everywhere. So it'd be a big help to everybody, if they'd take advantage of it," Kinsey said.

If residents in Hancock County continue hopping on board, soon people in other coast counties could see the service.

"If the numbers warrant us to keep doing it, then we're going to keep doing it.  Hopefully, we can start another in Jackson County, because we're seeing a big need in our mental and medical health units over there," Knight said.

For now, the program offers rides to people in the Scenic Trails R.V Park and the neighborhood near the park. It runs three days a week, but Kinsey says he hopes that will soon change.

"I hope they start doing every day cause they really need it out there. There's a lot of people who's isolated," Kinsey said.

Program organizers are encouraging Hancock County residents to ride because, they say, those numbers will determine if the program continues. For now, the pilot program is set to run for a month. For more information on route times, you can call (228) 255-8020 or click here.