“The biggest misconception people have about us is that the bus service is just for seniors, or the handicapped,” said David Maguire. “It’s for anyone who doesn’t have good transportation.”
Maguire, transportation coordinator of the Redwood Falls office, was speaking of the Western Community Action Community Transit buses that have been flitting around Redwood Falls’ streets since 1997.
The service is available to anyone of any age, although small children must be accompanied by an adult.
Many of the riders use the bus to go to the clinic, to visit Jackpot Junction, or to go shopping.
The service currently doesn’t drive in set routes; the drivers’ routes are determined by who calls to schedule a ride that day.
Technically, the bus service is a “shared-ride” program. Once the dispatcher has a list of riders for the next day, he/she puts together the route that most efficiently accommodates those riders. Hours run from 6:30 a.m. through 6 p.m.
“We have door-to-door service, meaning we pick you up at your door and take you to the door of your destination,” said Maguire.
Maguire said WCA is looking into setting up regular bus routes to frequently-visited locations in town, but that for the time being all rides must be made by appointment.
To ride, call a dispatcher at 1-888-658-2480, preferably the day before.
The Redwood Falls office currently has three buses, and six drivers, although generally only two buses are out at a time.
“Our buses average about a hundred miles a day, five days a week,” said Maguire.
In addition to the bus service, Western Community Action operates a volunteer driver program for trips bus service can’t accommodate.
Volunteer drivers use their own vehicles, and are reimbursed for mileage. Although trips can be in-town, most are out of town to places like the Twin Cities or Rochester.
Western Community Action is a non-profit organization funded party by the community, partly by the county, and party by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Costs range from $2-5 per trip per person, with monthly passes and ride coupons available. WCA also honors group rates for six or more riders going to the same destination.
For more information, call 507-537-7628, or see 222.wcainc.org/transit