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BPART riders would like weekend service

Multicounty public transit meeting shares successes, concerns

BPART Director Mick Johnson (left) listens as Princeton rider Steve Dorfman requests that transportation services be extended to weekends, if only for one weekend a month, during a meeting of public transportation officials from eight counties, including Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle, that took place Friday in Princeton.
BPART Director Mick Johnson (left) listens as Princeton rider Steve Dorfman requests that transportation services be extended to weekends, if only for one weekend a month, during a meeting of public transportation officials from eight counties, including Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle, that took place Friday in Princeton.

PRINCETON — Providing weekend service was shown to be a popular request from riders during the recent meeting of regional public transportation officials held Friday in Princeton.

Representatives from Bureau, Putnam, LaSalle, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, Lee and Ogle counties shared new developments within their areas, as well as training, common concerns and vehicle issues.

Privacy issues were also discussed regarding the need to communicate with riders to provide for their safety and welfare during both the ride and their transition to other caregivers.

Princeton resident Steve Dorfman said he moved to the area about six years ago and described himself as “a very happy rider” of the Bureau-Putnam Area Rural Transit (BPART) system.

His single request was for weekend service, even if it was just once a month.

“It gives me the freedom to get out and around; it’s just wonderful,” he said, adding the people of BPART and the Bureau County Senior Center have “become my friends and family.”

The representatives then shared the new developments in their areas. BPART Director Mick Johnson reported they’ll soon be making the move into their new facility and that tours would be available.

With a major move underway and a declaration that it was currently a low priority, Johnson did mention that BPART “may or may not be able to offer weekend service” in the near future.

The DeKalb County representative announced his agency is adding weekend services for its residents.

Alaina Rivers, deputy city clerk of Ottawa, represented LaSalle County and reported they are continuing to work with the state to get grant approval for a new building and that the final decision should be known by September.

Rayanne Sestert, director of the Mendota Area Senior Services, announced they’re hoping to see an increase in riders with the Oct. 1 addition of a Monday-Friday congregate meal service, which will be held at the Mendota Civic Center. The meal time has yet to be determined.

Putnam County Community Center (PCCC) Director Michelle Halm said there had been no new developments, but did share why public transportation services are vital, especially for rural residents.

“It’s a much-needed service that provides freedom and Independence for anyone who needs it,” she said.

The Regional Transportation Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of the Human Services Transportation Plan (HSTP).

HSTP identifies transportation needs and develops solutions to improve transportation services for the general public. An emphasis is placed on seniors, people with disabilities, individuals with lower incomes, and veterans.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has formed an agreement with the North Central Illinois Council of Governments (NCICG) for the purposes of preparing, implementing and updating the plan for Region 1 (Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson and Winnebago counties) and Region 3 (Bureau, Putnam, LaSalle, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, Lee and Ogle counties).

For more information about BPART’s services, Bureau County residents can call 877-874-8813 or visit www.ridebpart.org.

Putnam County residents or those LaSalle County residents who use the PCCC can either use the above information or also call the PCCC at 815-339-2711 or visit its website at www.pcaservices.org.

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