Fulton County Transit Authority to start trial of expanded hours

A possible expansion to public transportation hours gives you another option to get around the area.

"It matters the world to me right now," said Jennifer Courtney. 

Courtney is one of many people in Graves County hoping for expanded hours to the Fulton County Transit Authority’s Demand Response services. A shuttle bus currently picks up people in Fulton, Graves, Hickman and Carlisle counties when people call a request a ride.

The bus runs from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Fulton County. In the rest of the counties it runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Two times a day, five days a week Courtney is helped on to the shuttle bus. She can’t drive because of her cerebral palsy, so over the last six months this process has become routine.

"It’s very crucial right now, because I don’t know how much longer she’s going to be here," Courtney said.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as long as the shuttle bus runs, she visits her mom, who has Alzheimer’s disease, at a nursing home.

"The way I look at it is she helped me, so now it’s my time to be around for her," Courtney said.

Courtney is not alone in her need for longer bus hours. A public hearing about expanded services was held on Tuesday, because Fulton County Transit Authority Director Kenney Etherton says he’s seen an increase in demand over the last few years, especially out of Graves County.

To get a ride, it’s simple. You call 270-472-0662, the bus arrives, and then you board. The problem is, the hours don’t fit everyone’s schedules.

"There are a lot of people, if we didn’t exist, couldn’t have a quality life," Etherton said.

At Tuesday’s hearing, he announced a trial period when hours will be expanded from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Carlisle, Graves and Hickman counties.

"I will probably be there from 8 in the morning to six at night, because she may not know it, but it do," Courtney said.

Courtney will take every hour she can get. The trial for expanded services begins Oct. 1 and will last six months to see if the demand is there. During that trial period veterans and their families will get a rate change of half price every Friday.

The transit authority was already using a federal grant to get more buses. More drivers will be hired using the money services bring in, so this will not impact the costs for riders.

If you missed the public hearing but want to comment on expanded hours, the transit authority still wants to hear from you. To comment, you can email transit5@bellsouth.net by Wednesday, Sept. 28.

For information about the transit services call 270-472-0662, or head to the Fulton County Transit Authority facebook page.

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