I have lived in the Walla Walla Valley for 40-plus years, During my childhood I had never heard of "public transportation," much less had a need for it. However by the time I became a wife, and then a mother, things changed.
By the time my daughter reached junior high and then high school she used Valley Transit fixed routes to get back and forth to school.
At that time in life I was able to drive, and depended on my own car for transportation. Now because of health complications, I am no longer able to do that, and am completely dependent on Valley Transit Dial-a-Ride service.
I use it daily to get to and from work, and to doctor appointments. I even use the connector on weekends to get to the grocery store and pharmacy to buy medications.
Without this vital service my life would have come to a standstill when my health began to decline.
I've heard people say that sometimes the buses look empty, but obviously Valley Transit doesn't provide about 800,000 rides a year with empty buses! People who haven't ridden a bus may not realize that the passengers are not all on the bus at the same time.
They board at various points along the route and get off at different locations, depending on where they're going. We all live, work, shop and have professional appointments at different places. So, although there may be few or many passengers on board at any moment along the route, the total number carried each trip is high.
Buses also have peak and off-peak hours. All buses are at capacity during peak hours and have fewer riders at other times. The bus near my house is completely packed at 7:30 a.m. but has fewer passengers at 8:30. Operating two fleets, such as large buses for peak times and small ones for off-peak hours, would be poor management and would cost considerably more.
So many people like myself depend on the bus service for our daily lives. You never know what life may bring you, and who knows someday you too may need this vital service. Please help to save the transit service by voting yes on the Feb. 9 ballot.