Public transported offered on Saturday
People who utilize public transportation in Rutherford County have an opportunity to use the service on Saturday for the first time since the program was implemented.
Kerry Giles, executive director of Rutherford County Transit Authority, said the Saturday routes begin on May 4 and will continue through June.
If the interest is great enough, there is a possibility the routes can be added in July, depending on grant funding, Giles said.
"We have had a lot of interest for some time for Saturday transportation. Passengers have been asking for that. We have some grant funding we wanted to use before the end of the fiscal year and we can use it here," Giles said.
The Saturday routes include new stops, also a request of the riders.
"We'll be stopping at J's Salvage and Big Lots that we weren't before. If there is good ridership, we'll evaluate this at the end of June to see what the riders want. We may change some stops as well as the timing," Giles said.
The routes are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. but that can change, too.
"Since most of our riders live in Forest City, those are the stops we currently will make but we'll be monitoring the rides," she said.
The bus will transport people to Ingles, Tri-City Mall, Wal-Mart, Lowe's, J's Salvage, Aldi's, Big Lots and the Spindale House from several apartment complexes including Amity, Highland, Southern Manor, Oak Villa, Harmony Hills Apartments and Meadowbrook Mobile Home Park.
Stops will be made along the route that begins at 9 a.m. at safe locations only.
For passenger and driver safety, deviations aren't allowed that require a back-up maneuver by a transit vehicle, however, transit can deviate for drop-off locations but not pick-up locations since the transit dispatch does not work on Saturdays. "If someone wants to go to Family Christian Stores instead of the mall, we can pull up there," she said.
The loop from the apartments to the shopping area is about one hour.
The transit department has also added Tuesday to its schedule for riders to Storehouse Pantry in Forest City where free produce is given away.
The cost is $1 to ride.