Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss Anderson and Mayor Percy Bland have officially signed an agreement to resume public transportation in Meridian. Officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation were present for Monday morning's signing. The Director for Intermodal Planning at MDOT says that he has high hopes for the new partnership.
"All of our directors look for it to be one of the best in the state," says Charles Carr with MDOT.
The concept for the partnership between the two entities actually came from the Public Transportation Commission in Meridian when the service first stopped three years ago.
"I look forward to it growing rapidly because it's much needed," says Meridian Transportation Commission President Bo Hawkins.
The bus that will be used in Meridian is handicap accessible, and can seat up to 29 people. Tribal officials say they have already been contacted by at least 60 people from Meridian, who say that once this service starts they'll be some of the first to use it.
"The clients will call us the day before and tell us where they need to go, what their pickup time is," says Jeremy Bell, who is the Mobility Manager for the Choctaw Regional Transportation Facility.
"I feel very fortunate that we're able to have this partnership with the City of Meridian," says Chief Anderson. "It's something that will not only enhance our programs, but it also brings communities together."
"We have the ability and flexibility to expand, but we're going to go with this three day a week transit system, and we're going to grow from there," says Mayor Bland.
The Choctaw Regional Transportation Facility operates in more than a dozen counties in Mississippi. It already provides public transportation for residents in Newton County.
"This is a stepping stone," says Jeremy Bell with Choctaw Regional Transportation. "We have 16 counties where hopefully we can branch out, and start providing transportation."
Here are some important details about the service that will be provided in Meridian:
1. It's set to start 60 days from January 26th.
2. It will be provided from 8 AM until 4 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
3. People will have to call a special number to make arrangements to be picked up and dropped off at sites.
4. The cost will be $6 for a round trip, and $3 to travel one way.