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Our Opinion: Answer transit needs

February 20, 2001

A recent transportation hearing before the Imperial Valley Association of Governments raised some concerns we hope to see addressed.

The first concern raised was bus routes do not run close enough to the new location of the Social Security office. Those heading to the office can only take the bus to Fourth Street and Wake Avenue and then have to walk down Wake. The concern is many of those heading to the Social Security office use walkers or canes and the walk, which is a bit of a distance, is difficult for such folks. It will be even more difficult when the heat returns.

While we recognize SunLine Transit Agency can't reroute its buses every time a business moves, we hope something can be worked out for the Social Security office. It seems an extra swing down a cul-de-sac wouldn't be too much to work into the schedule. The county has a contract with SunLine, and county officials might press SunLine to make that extra little effort to serve an often special-needs population.

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Another concern with the buses is the 10 p.m. bus from Imperial Valley College having been cut. Again, we understand the late-night route probably doesn't draw enough riders to meet the bottom line, but those late routes are vital to night students. Many students work during the day and can't get to IVC except at night. Perhaps there is money somewhere — at the county, at IVC or through a grant — that could restore the late bus service to the remote campus. While it's understandable that the transit agency wouldn't want to run a bus for eight or 10 people, that is eight or 10 people who may be missing out on their education because their transportation has been canceled.

The final issue raised was that of bringing Dial-a-Ride services to Westmorland. Dial-a-Ride provides a valuable service in other Valley cities and we would like to see those services expanded to Westmorland. While the city has a small population, the demand for such services would probably be great. Again, we don't know where the funding would come from, but we hope to see a cooperative effort to find out. City of Westmorland officials might look into seeing what it would take to get residents Dial-a-Ride service.

We were glad to see IVAG hosting a forum for the public to provide input on transportation needs. Now we hope to see action taken to meet those needs.

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