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JEFFTRAN users ask for rides on nights, weekends

Jefferson City residents gave input Tuesday on the city’s transit system as consultants do a system-wide assessment of JEFFTRAN.

The assessment, which will take place over the next six to nine months, is aimed at improving efficiency and getting more people to take advantage of the transit system. JEFFTRAN is facing a trend of decreasing ridership numbers, providing about 314,000 rides in 2015.

Residents overwhelmingly told ABC 17 News the most-needed change is having rides offered at later hours and on weekends.

Many riders are heavily dependent on JEFFTRAN to get around town, including Alicia Hombs and her husband, who take the bus at least twice a week.

Without JEFFTRAN, Hombs said it would take her husband 45 minutes to walk from their home to his regular appointments at the hospital and said other options are not affordable.

“Other places we go to would mean cab fare,” Hombs said. “And he’s on a limited income so that would be a big chunk of our budget.”

JEFFTRAN offers rides Monday through Friday from 6:40 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., which many said is not often enough.

“On the weekends when people like to go grocery shopping, I’ve heard people spending upwards to $20 using cab service,” JEFFTRAN rider Michele Washington said. “Which again, if you’re a single parent and you have children, that $20 could go a long way to help feed your kids.”

“There were a couple of girls that we were trying to give a job to,” Jefferson City resident Amy Rogers said. “They ended up not being able to stay with the job, just because they had to leave work early several times just to be able to catch the bus.”

The consultants are set to meet with local businesses Wednesday morning to get more input on ways to improve the system.

When the study is complete in six to nine months, the consultants will make recommendations on which routes and schedules may need to be changed.

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