My relationship with Valley Transit began 15 years ago. The disease that confined me to a wheelchair also took away my driver's license.
At first, I relied on family and friends for transportation. This proved to be problematic since understandably rides were available on a limited basis. I needed more independence.
Fortunately I was referred to Dial-a-Ride, and thus began my experience with public transportation. While I had used transit systems when living in metropolitan areas such as San Diego, it was a matter of convenience not necessity.
While Dial-a-Ride has, and continues to be, a service I rely on it does have requirements that make the fixed routes necessary for a more independent life.
Fortunately for me the circulator in College Place goes right by my house. Unfortunately, if the February referendum fails to pass, that route will cease to exist.
My neighbor, a senior citizen, depends on the bus to do her grocery shopping. Living alone is enough of a challenge, having safe and dependable public transportation may seem like a little thing to some but not to her. It's a quality of life issue plain and simple.
While our community of riders is diverse; from students attending Wa-Hi or the community college to veterans like myself with appointments at the VA Medical Center to families with a limited income, we have one thing in common. We rely on Valley Transit for our transportation needs.
A fully functioning transit system benefits everyone in the area. It reduces traffic, fuel consumption and pollution. It increases independence and provides safe, reliable transportation for all who choose to use it.
Walla Walla and College Place have been served well by the men and women of Valley Transit.
The referendum is not out of line, it brings Valley Transit up to the level currently received by most systems across the state. I feel confident that the value of the service provided is second to none and worthy of our support.