A program that Prairie Hills Transit started is working to combat that challenge. “If a social worker, congregate housing director, somebody calls and says, ‘We’ve got Smith here who needs some help.’ We will sell Mary one ticket a month for a quarter on the dollar, so basically Mary can get a $40 trip ticket for $10 if she can come up with the $10.”
Most of that additional funding is coming from local cities, though it’s not available in all of the communities at this time. “As with everything, there’s never enough money; we help as many people as we can,” Cline says.
Working as a Team
The resolve and determination it took to start the system could be part of the reason Cline won the CTAA’s 2007 Community Transportation Manager of the Year award. If you ask her why, she repeatedly responds, “My staff.
“It’s not one of those things that anybody does alone,” she maintains. “I’ve got great people that I work with. It’s people that really care about people. They take pride in what they do, they take pride in being able to help people, especially people who need a little bit of extra attention.
“A lot of them [riders] have been given a new sense of independence by what my people are able to do as far as meeting those needs,” Cline emphasizes.
“You have to believe that you’re making a significant difference in people’s lives, and I think we do that every single day.” She adds, “It’s always a challenge. It’s not something where you go to work and wonder what you’re going to do today.
“It’s become a passion and it’s something that we believe in. And again, I’ve got a staff that feels exactly the same way. Teamwork has made a lot of things possible for people in our communities.”