We are glad to see that the leadership at Johnston County Area Transit System, JCATS, has been responsive to complaints of ridership denial.
That agency has proposed a plan to improve its record of denying rides to those who request it, by creating a plan it believes will help it provide the service and pay for the additional costs.
At issue was the degree to which JCATS were denying service to people who justifiably needed the service the public agency provided. JCATS denied the second highest number of rides among any of the public transit systems in North Carolina, a distinction that didn’t sit well with anyone.
That agency has attempted now, through the budget process to remedy the problem.
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To be sure, it will not mean no one is ever denied service. Their proposal will not make the agency flush with money.
But it will lower the denial rate and that’s a good thing, especially in a county as geographically large as Johnston, where walking to a doctor’s office or the grocery store isn’t a practical alternative for a lot of people.
The JCATS proposal calls for opening up the number of agencies JCATS contracts with to provide the service. It would also spread the cost around, not only among those groups, but also among the people who make use of the service.
That’s a reasonable approach from our point of view, because it stops short of just dropping the entire problem in the laps of county commissioners.
JCATS has asked the county to participate and to increase its current support of the system, perhaps by as much as $100,000. As the largest funding organization in the county, we’d like to see the Johnston County Commissioners look earnestly for a way to make that happen as they prepare their budget.
We would also encourage other agencies and institutions in Johnston County to consider how they may partner with JCATS and their own members to provide a worthwhile service.