EAST TEXAS– A revised system goes into effect today for people who have been using the East Texas Council of Governments’ GoBus system. Smith County Friday announced a temporary solution for GoBus users living outside the Tyler city limits. Beginning today, GoBus will no longer serve 107 customers in the area surrounding the city of Tyler. According to a news release, last-minute efforts by Smith County and TxDOT were able to identify federal funds that could be redirected to provide service to the people affected by the reduced GoBus service area. Affected people should phone transit provider NDMJ, Ltd. at 903-592-3232 to arrange service one day in advance.
Smith County Judge Joel Baker voiced his appreciation to TxDOT Public Transportation Division Director, Eric Gleason, who Baker says was instrumental in helping the County find a temporary solution. “We are grateful to Mr. Gleason and his staff at TxDOT for helping ensure that this need will be met. Smith County will work with NDMJ to utilize existing grant funds that can be used for this purpose within Smith County’s voucher program,” Judge Baker said. Gleason said he hopes these funds will allow local officials the time to identify a more permanent solution to meet the mobility needs of these residents. “We’re glad to be able to assist Smith County in addressing this critical issue for residents previously relying on GoBus services,” Gleason said.
The city of Tyler currently receives grant funds that are generated, in part, by population outside the city limits of Tyler. It is possible that a portion of these funds could be transferred to the County’s voucher program to serve the customers outside the city of Tyler’s service boundaries. “Finding a longer term solution will require that all of the stakeholders have a seat at the table,” Judge Baker said. For now, GoBus customers can call NDMJ for service after June 15. Calls for service need to be scheduled a day ahead of time by calling NDMJ at 903-592-3232.
On Thursday, ETCOG announced that effective Monday, GoBus service hours will reduce from the previous hours of 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. in order to serve GoBus customers in what’s termed a more efficient and cost-conscious manner. The new hours will apply to all trips within the 14 counties served in East Texas as well as the Marshall flex bus routes. You can go to http://www.etcog.org/592/Marshall-Flex-Routes.htm for maps to the three Marshall flex routes. Due to the new service hours, all Marshall flex route arrival times had to be changed, according to officials. Go to http://www.etcog.org/UserFiles/file/Transportation/TIMECHANGE2014.pdf to see new approximate arrival times.
ETCOG’s rural transportation system, GoBus, makes approximately 600 trips a day, 5 days a week, throughout the 14 counties of East Texas. There are approximately 40 vehicles in the GoBus fleet which provide demand/response service within the region and a flex route service in Marshall. To schedule a trip, call 1.800.590.3371 before 2:00 p.m. the day prior to the requested service. You may call up to a week in advance to schedule a ride. For more information, contact Transportation Director John Hedrick at John.Hedrick@etcog.org or (903) 218-6490.