Transit service gives rides in Kandiyohi, Meeker and Renville counties
If it weren’t for the availability of the Central Community Transit buses, many local citizens without transportation would be forced to find alternate means to reach places such as work, school, shopping or a medical appointment.
“I’m not sure what I would do if (CCT) didn’t offer their service,” said Marianne Lewison of Willmar. “I used to ride bike two miles to work, but it was hard when the weather was bad. Walking was really the only other way I could get to work. But my knees are too bad to walk that far now.”
Marianne, who started riding with CCT last fall, revealed that she hadn’t inquired about the transit bus before because she assumed it would be too expensive.
“I was really surprised that the cost was so reasonable,” she said. “I would have ridden the bus a long time ago if I had only checked it out sooner.”
Marianne, who is creeping up on 70 years old, lives alone on a modest income stemming from her part-time job in Willmar. She doesn’t drive a car, nor does she have any family members living nearby. She admittedly was too proud to ask a friend or co-worker for a ride all the time.
“The (CCT) bus driver picks me up at my apartment and brings me right to work,” she explained. “And when I’m done, the bus picks me up and takes me home. And if my knees are hurting, they help me on and off the bus.”
Previously called Kandiyohi Area Transit (KAT), the company expanded operations with an office in Olivia and changed its name to CCT on Jan. 1, 2015. On Aug. 1, 2016, CCT expanded again with another office in Litchfield.
“We’re really excited about providing service to all three counties (Kandiyohi, Meeker and Renville) and excited about the opportunity to expand service to those who are transit dependent.”
“The transit system is for everyone, not just the elderly,” said Tiffany Collins, Transit Director for CCT. “It’s also for children, adults and those with disabilities. All of our buses are handicap accessible and have wheelchair and walker lifts.”
The base fare fee is only $2 for a one-way transport for regular route stops.
“Eighty percent of our funding is through grants though the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the other 20 percent are through local government and fares.
Senior Transportation is one of the more popular programs offered by CCT. Individuals using this program must be 60 years of age or older and can use the program up to two times a week or up to three times a week for medical appointments Monday through Friday. This cost share program is income based.
“Also available is a service called CCT Carriage for groups of elderly and/or disabled persons who need wheelchair transportation to outings such as groups from nursing homes or senior centers in all three counties to local places like ballgames, Let’s Go Fishing, nurseries to look at flowers, fairs, or to look at Christmas lights,” said Collins.
CCT, which now has 30 buses in operation in the three locations, also offers a myriad of other programs to fit the needs of its customers.
• Demand Response Rides (Dial-a-Ride) – A route that is directly based on the ridership demands. This type of route generally has a base route with more flexibility than that of a fixed flexible route.
• Joy Ride – This program runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and is run in conjunction with the Kandiyohi County Safety Coalition. Passengers can get a ride into Willmar as long as they are within a six-mile radius of Spicer. The program is designed to emphasize “Don’t Drink and Drive”.
• Fixed Flexible Route – A route that will deviate to pick up at any location within 3/4 of a mile (or 10 blocks) from any of the scheduled route stops.
• Same Day Service – Bus routes are available at times to pick up passengers on the same day for an additional fee above the base fare. These requests are based on availability.
• Saturday Service – CCT offers fixed flexible route service on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., within the city limits of Willmar. Passenger pick-ups that deviate from the city route must be pre-scheduled the day before.
• Monday Evening Service – CCT offers Monday through Friday evening service until 9:30 p.m. The route will only transport people in the city limits of Willmar.
CCT also offers the following volunteer programs:
• Senior Volunteer Program– This program utilizes a volunteer driver using a personal vehicle to transport seniors 60 years of age or older to medical appointments, groceries, errands, etc.
• Public Transportation – Transporting the general public for a fee. CCT provides transportation options for all residents of Kandiyohi, Renville and Meeker counties.
• Non-Emergency Medical Transportation – Through Medical Assistance and Managed Care Contracts. Transportation is available for anyone with priorities for out of town medical trips to places like St. Cloud, Rochester or the Twin Cities.”
“We have several volunteers, but not all of them are available year round,” said Collins. “So we are always looking for more. Volunteers are reimbursed for the use of their vehicle, but volunteer their own time.”
For more information on bus routes and the cost of programs, call any of the three offices: Willmar 320-214-7433 or 888-750-7433, Olivia 320-523-3589 or 800-450-7964, or Litchfield 320-693-7794 or 800-513-7433. Also visit their website at cctbus.org, or find them on Facebook.