By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - Since February 2009, residents of Mingo County have been able to take advantage of public transportation to get them to their destinations.
That trend is continuing, with updated routes to accommodate an even greater number of customers.
The Tri-River Transit Authority began service in Southern West Virginia in January 2000, when they began operating in Lincoln County. They added bus service and nonemergency medical transportation in September 2001.
Since they began serving residents of Mingo County, they have been able to provide public transportation to the Williamson Branch of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, the Regional Day Report Center, the Williamson Department of Health and Human Resources, Mingo County Courthouse, area schools, several different shopping venues, and both local hospitals and medical facilities.
In a five-year period from 2009 through 2013, Tri-River Transit has seen the number of Mingo County riders increase by approximately 550 people. The totals that have been released show that in 2009, 2,444 individuals took advantage of the transit service, with 2,974 passengers reported in 2014. The total number of riders in West Virginia who were customers of the Tri-River Transit Authority in 2013 exceeded 80,000.
The bus company employs 24 people, and since their beginning, have traveled more than five million miles in their 10 years of service. In many local communities, access to public transportation serves as a lifeline for residents who without it would experience many problems getting back and forth to appointments, as well as to address their everyday needs such as trips to the grocery store.
Paula Smith, executive director for the transit service, recently announced that the company has a position open for a driver in the Mingo County area. The position is part-time, and does not include benefits. Those interested in applying are required to have a Class D endorsement on their driver’s license. The pay is $8 an hour.
Anyone who is interested in seeking employment as a public transportation driver may contact Smith by calling 304-824-2944, or may email her at email@example.com. This is the same contact information to use if you need additional information on pickup locations within the county, as well as specific days and times.