By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — At Tuesday’s meeting of the Ottumwa City Council, Transit Director Dave Silverio said there are some pretty significant changes coming to the city’s transit services and community members need to take notice.
Silverio said that the main changes that will take effect on April 1 are the discontinuation of Saturday services and the switch back to the old route system.
The changes are being enacted because, frankly, Ottumwa Transit is pushing its limits right now with its budget. In order to keep with the new route system, Silverio said they would have to hire more drivers and get more buses, but their budget is already being pushed to the max.
Switching back to the old route system and discontinuing Saturday services will help them save money and better utilize the employees and resources they already have, plus it bodes well for increased bus traffic.
“All those things put transit where we need to be to be functional and efficient,” Silverio said.
The only change being made to the old route system is that they will be keeping the stop at Emerald Hills Apartments, and it will be alternated with the stop on Main Street on the city’s far east side.
Although Ottumwa Transit won’t be offering services on Saturday, community members who need public transportation will not be left without an option. 10-15 Regional Transit always offers services on Saturdays, and although their prices are 50 cents more than Ottumwa Transit, Silverio said their services make up for the additional cost because they go to the person needing transportation. In a way, they are a door-to-door service, Silverio said.
“(10-15 Transit) should be able to pick up the bulk of those needs,” he said. “Our intentions were never to leave the citizens of Ottumwa with no way to go anywhere on Saturdays.”
Silverio said they worked long and hard to try and come up with the best situation possible for the citizens of Ottumwa while still staying within their budget.
“There was a lot of thought and planning with this move,” he said.
The new bus schedules will be coming out in the coming weeks, and community members need to mark April 1 on their calendar as the day the routes and schedules will change. Silverio said anyone who needs more information or has questions should call Ottumwa Transit at 641-683-0695.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh