Bus service set to start
By: CJ Cassidy
Cape Girardeau, MO - Starting Monday, Cape Girardeau becomes the last of our three big heartland cities to provide public transport for its residents.
Paducah and Carbondale have had buses running for some time now, but the last time a bus route was operated in Cape was back in 1969.
City leaders blame a lack of funding for the delay.
Still county commissioners approved a resolution back in June, guaranteeing the finances for a transit system.
Commissioners approved a $660,000 loan that allowed them to buy out Kelley Transportation, which was the previous taxi-cab service in Cape.
Mayor Jay Knudtson says he realizes the planned bus routes aren't perfect, but calls this is a start.
So who would use this service benefit the most?
"I have to wait to go to the grocery store until my neighbors go. I wait to come to the doctor in Cape when my neighbors come to Cape," Tami Binkard of Jackson says. The public bus route opens up a whole new city her.
Binkard, who is also disabled, says getting around without someone's help will be a dream come true.
"There are so many people low income working class poor that go back and forth to work, because the service before they'd have to call two or three hours before just to get to work," she says.
Binkard adds she couldn't afford sky rocketing gas prices. let alone a car, and says many others share the same problem.
"There's a lot of single moms that don't have transportation. Just to get from one point to another was so expensive before, and now it won't be," she says.
"There's a lot of seniors that are crippled can't walk far or get around because they can't drive," Janet Hansen adds. A senior citizen herself, doesn't expect to be able to drive in a year's time, and says other older folk look forward to boarding the buses.
"If we need a tax increase to keep it going we'd be willing to vote on it," Hansen says.
The bus will make about two dozen stops around Cape hitting each stop every forty minutes. 6AM to 6PM weekdays, and 9AM to 6PM Saturdays. The service will not operate Sundays and holidays.
Meanwhile Tami Binkard's started counting down, but she already has a suggestion to improve the service.
"Maybe they need to extend it maybe to eight o'clock so people can get home or need to run by grocery store," she says.
Bus rides are $.75 for senior citizens and anyone with a disability. All other passengers will pay $1.50.