June 19--Butte-Silver Bow will take over transit services for people with disabilities on June 30, providing bus and van rides a private company had operated for years.
The county is officially cutting a nearly 20-year contractual tie with Anaconda-based AWARE Inc. to provide the rides as part of the area's public transit system, but no major changes are expected with the transition.
The vehicles won't be the same, but fares will be and the county's four drivers were hired from AWARE.
"That is why we are really expecting a smooth transition," county Transit Director Gary Keeler said Thursday. "That is a huge plus. They know where to go and are comfortable with them (regular passengers) and know them."
Butte-Silver Bow has been eying the change for months, saying contract costs with AWARE have increased significantly in the past three years and the county might be able to provide the same service for less money.
The contract for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, was $210,000, Keeler said.
He and other county officials have said, however, that AWARE did a great job providing the service.
Copyright 2014 - The Montana Standard, Butte