Transit changes may be on way

Pulaski Town Council recently got a first look at Pulaski Area Transit’s budget needs for Fiscal Year 2021, as well as a review of the past year.

Transit Manager Monica Musick told council PAT had completed its first year with its new fixed route setup and, she said, things overall had gone well.

“Ridership was down, but that was to be expected,” Musick told council, considering the change from picking up riders at their individual destinations to a fixed route in which riders were picked up at specific bus stops.

“DRPT (state Department of Rail and Public Transportation) says we’re now seeing what our true ridership should have been,” Musick stated.

Moving into the next service year, Musick told council she will be seeking DRPT’s approval to take the two routes the transit has now with transfer points and combine them into one big route.

Musick explained the change would have two drivers on the route, but that would free up two drivers.

“We’d like to see if we can use those two drivers to set up an on-demand service in which riders can alert us 24-hours ahead of time to be picked up in outlying areas and be brought to one of the bus stops,” Musick explained, noting this service would be for those who can’t get to the bus stops otherwise.

Musick also plans to seek state and federal funds for replacement of two PAT buses. The two buses being replaced would be sold to raise matching local funds for the new vehicles.

Musick also plans to submit a grant application with DRPT for a new fence to secure the lot where the buses are parked next to National Bank’s drive-through location off Third Street.

Musick said she expects the PAT budget for the next fiscal year to be $632,083 including a level funding request from the town of $70,000.

She noted the transit will continue to do their annual fundraisers such as their golf tournament.

Musick’s presentation to council was for informational purposes only. The actual transit budget and request for local funding will come

before council for approval in January so PAT can meet its Feb. 1 budget and grant application deadline with DRPT.