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The road most often traveled: Transit system open to anyone needing a ride
by Jason Collins
Sep 04, 2014 | 707 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joe Brown is all smiles as he welcomes riders onto a Rural Economic Assistance League public transit bus. The group took over where the Bee Community Action Agency left off when it shut down earlier this year.
Joe Brown is all smiles as he welcomes riders onto a Rural Economic Assistance League public transit bus. The group took over where the Bee Community Action Agency left off when it shut down earlier this year.
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BEEVILLE – When the Bee Community Action Agency shuttered its doors in June, it left many a hole for services.

The Head Start Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program are now run by the Community Development Institute Head Start.

The Rural Economic Assistance League provides the transportation services for this area’s transportation district.

Real Transit took over this area of the BCAA on June 5 after county leaders discovered financial problems within the locally run department.

Director Martín Ornelas said, “Everyone qualifies for the public transportation services that Real Transit provides.”

Ornelas calls their system a demand based response.

“That means that anyone needing public transportation needs to call at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation,” she said. “However, you can make your reservation as early as you know which will allow for Real Transit to better coordinate your transportation needs.

“In order to request a ride, all callers need to call the Real Transit offices at 361-358-7229 or at 1-800-358-5534.

“Trips can be arranged for both within the city and/or trips to Corpus Christi or San Antonio.

“For Real Transit to be most efficient, especially for longer distance trips, it strives to group passengers together. This allows for better utilization of limited resources while continuing to provide high quality services.”

The biggest question for most is: What does it cost?

The cost to travel round-trip from Beeville to San Antonio is $32.

Corpus Christi is cheaper at $19 for a round trip as is Victoria at $19 there and back.

But not everyone needs to go to the big city.

Ornelas said that they also do shorter in-town trips.

“A demand response system takes the passenger to where they need to go and that could be to the doctor, a hair appointment, work, shopping or school,” she said.

“Destinations beyond those that are currently traveled and are included in the fare schedule may be accommodated with sufficient advance notice and fares would be determined at that time.

“However, trips must originate in the REAL Transit service area which include the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Jim Wells, Live Oak, Refugio and San Patricio.”

This is more than just giving someone a quicker way than walking to get to the doctor.

It is about freedom for many people.

“The benefits of having high quality, reliable and safe public transportation services is that it allows for residents to have the transportation options needed to get to where they want to go,” she said. “In many cases, it reduces the isolation that transit dependent individuals may experience.

“Overall, public transportation is a solution to improving the quality of life of residents by keeping them engaged through improved mobility transportation options.

“Real Transit staff, in partnership with Transportation Coordination Network, would be more than happy to schedule a presentation to any group of individuals, clubs or other civic organization to better explain how to access these services.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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