WILLCOX — Transportation was the big discussion last Tuesday as locals picked their favorite possibilities.
Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization officials presented three possibilities to Willcox residents, asking them to rate their favorites at the Willcox Community Center. Community leaders, volunteers and others rated the options presented.
“There’s a huge need for transportation. We have a lot of unemployed, we have a lot of all ages without cars that need transportation. We have a large population who are hurting, and they need transportation. This would be a wonderful service for Willcox,” said Willcox Food Pantry volunteer LaDonna Burgess. “The elderly and the handicapped, and a lot of people on disability pensions are unable to afford a car and can’t walk from the food pantry to the grocery store.”
For those who were not at the meeting, here are the options:
• Regional Dial-a-Ride
Regularly scheduled service five days a week. An ADA-accessible van/bus will be dispatched in response to reservations made in advance. Routes define; however, the bus can go up to one mile beyond the route. Typical fare is estimated between $1 and $5, and elderly and disabled receive priority for ride reservations.
• Fixed route — Willcox
Regularly scheduled service five days a week. ADA-accessible bus will stop at the same locations on the route within Willcox city limits several times a day; however, the bus can go up to three-quarters of a mile beyond the route. Typical fare is estimated between $0.50 and $1.50 and open to the public
• Fixed route — Cochise community
Regularly scheduled service five days a week. ADA-accessible bus will stop at same locations on the route several times a day. Expanded service beyond Fixed Route Willcox service; however, bus can go up to three-quarters of a mile beyond the route. Typical fare is estimated between $1.50 and $2.50, and open to the public.
The community rating at Tuesday’s meeting showed that the Dial-a-Ride option was the local favorite thus far.
“We’re asking for comments in addition to ranking. We’re asking the public to rank their choices one through three. We might have missed some community impact in the planning of the routes that we’re wanting to collect and capture. So we’re asking them to give us any input on the routes we’ve chosen and give us their ranking preferences, which will have an impact on the final planning,” said Chris Vertrees, transportation program assistant of the Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization.
“We’ll collect this data; we’ll analyze it; then we still have to do a cost analysis based upon the preferred service. We’ll have cost analysis probably for all three, and then we’ll have a final recommendation that will go to ADOT, which will hopefully allow the applicant to apply for funding in October of 2019. The service would kick off in October 2020. Hopefully, we get enough input to have a good and valid sample of what’s really wanted in the community.”