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Central Nebraska Transit Services Go Beyond Joy Rides

Nearly half of all people who use RYDE Transit are age 50 or older. (RYDE Transit)
Nearly half of all people who use RYDE Transit are age 50 or older. (RYDE Transit)
October 30, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – Getting to a grocery store or a doctor's office can be a challenge for rural Nebraskans unable to drive or without their own vehicles.

But transportation alternatives are becoming more readily available. One example is RYDE Transit in central Nebraska, one of more than 60 public transit providers around the state.

Transportation Director Charles McGraw says RYDE Transit provides low-cost, curb-to-curb service for the public.

Nearly half of all people who use RYDE Transit are age 50 or older, and McGraw says the service helps keep them active.

"It allows them to get to the appointments they need, get to the social things that they need and not always rely on family or friends to do that, who may be working or may be out of town or maybe not even live close," he explains.

Rides are $1 or $2 locally, and up to $8 for out-of-town trips.

Local, state and federal governments helps fund RYDE Transit, which is run by the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska.

RYDE Transit is featured as a model of affordable transit solutions in AARP's publication, "Where We Live: Communities for All Ages, 100+ Inspiring Ideas from America's Community Leaders."

McGraw says RYDE Transit can accommodate those with a physical disability.

"At each location, there's a handicapped-accessible vehicle,” he points out. “If we need to load a wheelchair or if somebody has a walker or one of those types of things, we have vans with ramps and we have buses that have wheelchair-accessible lifts on them."

While ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft are popular in urban areas, rural communities have smaller populations that are difficult to service.

McGraw says RYDE Transit is hoping to work with these and other transit providers as it investigates ways to expand its services.

"We're looking at some things on how to handle some of our transportation needs maybe that we can't meet at this point,” he states. “There's also a statewide van pool initiative that's out there that's an option to get employees to work, if we have groups of employees that need to go to a certain location to work."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE