Public Transportation Making A Comeback - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/04/03 - Tyler

Public Transportation Making A Comeback

With the recent jump in gas prices, it's suddenly become more expensive to drive. A recent trend has seen more and more people decide to take public transportation.

For many of them, the ride isn't just a money-saver, it's a necessary part of their lives.

Some use it for shopping.

"Today, I'm going to Wal-Mart going shopping," says Danny Pannell.

Geneva Washington is going to Brookshires. Bob Quinn uses the busses a lot. "I do my business by bus," Bob says. "I travel by bus all the time."

On average, 566 people a day rode the Tyler busses last year, 25% more than the previous year. And with gas prices still high, that number may continue to rise.

Therrell Cook says, "I like riding a bus because you ain't gotta pay no gas money."

"It's definitely more economical," Earl Moore says. "There are cars at my house, and I could take one of the cars but this is something I can use. I have my hands free, I don't have to worry about watching out for the other drivers. I can just take in all the sites."

The four bus lines cost about a million dollars a year, but less than 20% comes from the fares. The rest comes from city, state, and federal funds. For the riders, the busses are vital.

"Without a vehicle, it's extremely important," rider Fred Kinstead says. "It's a matter of life, really."

"I just get to work," Deno Blaylock says.

"And it's a great way to pick up women." he admits.

Okay, maybe it's not all business, but for some people, it's become a part of their lives.

"I enjoy riding the bus," June Smith says. "I really do, because I meet so many people."

"And they're always really nice people," she says.

The city's four bus routes cover Tyler inside the loop, extending south as far as Target. Transfers are free, and it takes one hour for each bus to complete its route.

In addition to their regular busses, the city of Tyler also has three paratransit vehicles. These are used for disabled people, and are mostly used for doctors appointments and treatments.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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