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Needed CARTA Changes - And Response

  • Saturday, May 18, 2024

I am old and wobbly at times. I am afraid to ride the bus. It already costs too much money - we seniors only get so much to get us through the month.

Just leaving my house is dangerous, let alone walk to the end of the street, turn a corner, walk to the next street, cross that and then cross again to get to the bus stop. The driver never waits very long for people to board. Then remembering which bus to get off of and then reconnect to get to my destination.

Taxis are very far from my means of transportation. I am independent and don't like to rely on relatives, who have their own lives. There are despicable people everywhere, looking to take advantage of older Americans.

In my time, if a business couldn't make it on their on, then they perished. People should have alternatives to getting to doctors or appointments. Routes need to be changed and times need to be changed and areas served should be changed. Not the same route every single day and postings when, what times, and what days a bus will be there. In the winter keep the bus a certain degree inside and the summer a different degree, but maybe fall and spring simply open the windows and breathe the air.

Not enough people ride the bus, it is not convenient. So maybe a bus like Walker County has. One that comes to your house and picks you up for a couple dollars and takes you where you need to go, then returns to take you back home. Door to door service. Just my personal opinion mind you.

Julia Buckner

* * *

Julia, I'll assume we're on first name basis since we've met in the past and sometimes attended local meetings together years ago. Although you may not remember me. I can't remember if I drove you or you drove me. Or we switched back and forth from time to time.

Now, about the CARTA issue. First, CARTA has a CARE-A-VAN service that will come straight to your door and drop you off for grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, and basically anywhere you need to go. It is best to give them a two weeks notice to guarantee pick-up. Shorter notices, they'll try to squeeze you in, I believe, but without the guarantee. Round trip used to cost around $5, and anyone assisting you can ride for free I think.  

Next, as for as cost for seniors, seniors, the disabled, students can ride CARTA for .75 cents a trip. The CARTA special fares for seniors, the disabled, students do require a CARTA ID card that can be purchased for $2 and is good for four years. My husband and I had one years ago. We just didn't bother to renew it, but as we're getting older and older, driving less and less, I'm thinking of renewing our cards to keep it handy just in case. You will have to get someone to take you down to the CARTA parking terminal on Market Street, next to the Choo Choo, which is most convenient for us, or the main terminal off Wilcox Boulevard. Whichever location is convenient for you.

All in all, CARTA has been a great public service to many for many decades. I'd hate to see what might be in store in an attempt to replace it. I haven't used CARTA services for years, but when I did I never minded sitting next to or near a homeless person. They never bothered me. Maybe because I showed them respect and was kind to them. I always greeted them by speaking with a, "Hello! How are you today? Do you mind if I sit next to you." They often seemed honored that anyone would want to sit next to them. I met some very interesting people on the bus, homeless and others, and had very interesting conversations. 

Oh,, and you'll have to sign up for the CARE-A-VAN service. We did, although we never got around to having to use it. Just knowing it was available if we did, as my husband had suffered a stroke at the time, and it could be a struggle at times trying to get him in and out of the car when he had doctor appointments. 

CARTA will mail you a form upon your request to fill out for his van service, and based on age or disabilities, you shouldn't have any problems getting it approved. 

I honestly don't understand what's going on behind the scenes with all the CARTA bashing. But I suspect whatever it is, it's dark matter for some selfish gains. I don't mind.

Brenda Washington 

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