Many low-income people struggle to get to jobs, doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other necessary errands due to a lack of transportation. This is especially true in rural areas. Several Community Action Agencies provide transportation solutions for their communities. Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action (HAPCAP) provides a number of transportation programs, including their innovative GoBus.
HAPCAP’s GoBus is one of Ohio’s few public transportation options connecting rural and metropolitan areas, providing daily, round-trip service between Athens, Columbus, Marietta, Cincinnati, and Parkersburg, West Virginia for the affordable rate of $10. Many Ohio University students and Athens-area seniors recognize GoBus as an affordable transportation option to Ohio’s larger cities, but the impact of GoBus extends far beyond recreational travel. “The availability of GoBus as a reliable transportation resource has increased the number of employment prospects for Ohio’s rural residents by connecting them with larger employers located in urban areas. GoBus also increases patronage for a wide variety of businesses, healthcare centers, tourist destinations, and educational institutions in rural and metro areas, as Ohio residents are now able to easily access goods and services throughout the state,” said Robin Stewart, senior project manager at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University in Athens.
After just one year of operation, GoBus averaged 2,000 riders per month. In 2013, there were almost 48,000 riders. HAPCAP’s GoBus is the product of a strategic effort to fill a gap in Ohio’s public transportation, drawing resources from a variety of partners to provide targeted services that meet customer demands. “It’s about local partners and local needs,” stated Carolyn Conley, HAPCAP’s Mobility Director.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.