OATS, Inc. Implements Fares for Mid-Missouri Routes
Originally published June 19, 2013 at 6 a.m., updated June 18, 2013 at 11:14 a.m.
Since 1971, OATS has provided transportation to Mid-Missouri residents asking only for suggested contributions in return. Now with the beginning of a new fiscal year, OATS is implementing a new fare structure to balance the FY2014 budget. The new fare system will be effective July 1.
“Switching to a fare-based system is necessary, allowing us to stretch our state and federal dollars further,” said Jack Heusted, OATS Mid-Missouri Regional Director. Currently rider contributions make up only 4 percent of our company’s revenue. In the last few years, OATS has seen significant cuts in state and federal funding, as well as cuts to contract-based service. “Transportation is a top priority for so many area residents, so a fare structure is necessary to avoid any additional route cuts and/or service delays in the Mid-Missouri Region,” added Heusted.
The Mid-Missouri region is comprised of 15 counties. Last year, OATS provided a total of 110,676 trips to 3,838 people in the Mid-Missouri region. A large percentage of those trips are for medical, nutrition, essential shopping and business related errands.
Fares will range from $5 - $9 each way for rural towns and areas in Mid-Missouri. OATS receives no federal funding for in-town Columbia since it is classified as an urban area. Federal funding does cover partial rural service, but it’s still not enough to cover 100 percent of the trips.
OATS, Inc. is a private, non-profit transportation provider serving the elderly, disabled and others who need transportation assistance in rural areas of 87 Missouri counties. OATS is funded, in part, an allotment of federal funds from the Missouri Department of Transportation, and through contracts with Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (MEHTAP), private contracts, donations and rider contributions. For more information about OATS, Inc., please visit our website at www.oatstransit.org; “Like” us at Facebook.com/oatstransit.
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