The city of Chadron is using Public Transit Awareness Week to announce it’s changing the name of the Handi-Bus to Chadron City Transit.
Julie Lawrence, less than a month into her job as the city’s first stand-alone Public Transportation Supervisor, says that while the name Handi-Bus has been used for decades, many people think it means the service is limited to just those with handicaps.
Lawrence says nothing could be further from the truth because the bus service has long been available for everyone of all ages – residents and visitors – as a way to get around town.
A nominal fee was charged for many years, but was dropped before the pandemic and replaced by encouraging riders to give a free-will donation with $1.00 the suggested amount.
Lawrence says more money usually comes in each month from donations than did from the fee.
The City Transit Bus doesn’t not have a regular route schedule, but Lawrence says that’s one option being looked at for the future. An online reservation system is being instituted to better serve customers.
Ridership rose sharply before the pandemic after an effort by the city and Chadron State College to make CSC students aware of the service whether they don’t have a vehicle or simply prefer not to drive.
Lawrence says City Transit gives everyone a convenient option for rides to medical and other appointments, programs and meals at the Senior Center, shopping, banking, the Aquatics and Wellness Center, classes at CSC, or just meeting friends.
As for Public Transportation Awareness Week in Chadron, today is Test Your Knowledge Day with a crossword or word-find puzzle and giveaways for passengers.
Also, the Stuff The Bus Canned Food Drive ends tomorrow. The bus is in the parking lot along 3rd St/Hwy 20 across the street from Safeway between FNBO and Nebraska Bank. All canned goods collected will go to local food pantries.