Transportation

Local Transit Provider Scrambles To Continue Service For Rural Customers

Employees are now having to pull double-duty to get people to their lifesaving medical appointments

Connect Transit is operated by the non-profit Gulf Coast Center and it operates both fixed-route buses and on-demand transportation in Galveston and Brazoria Counties. In September, Connect Transit was informed by its contract transportation company that it would no longer offer on-demand services in the region. So until it finds another vendor, Connect Transit is using leased vehicles to provide those rides on its own.

Director James Hollis said the on-demand service is primarily for people in rural areas who don’t have any other means of transportation.

“These are urgent trips,” explains Hollis. “And a lot of those trips are kidney dialysis trips. These are people that are going three days a week and it’s a life-sustaining medical procedure.”

To get people to those appointments, Hollis said members of their administrative staff are now working as drivers.

“If I have people that can work in the office and have the office skills but have a commercial driver’s license that helps out,” said Hollis. “That really paid off to have the vision to learn that people you hire in the office need to have both office skills and a commercial driver’s license because it’s really helped us in this situation and other situations.”

Connect Transit said it’s now trying to find another company to provide on-demand service but that process could take another six months. Riders could see some disruption until that new company is in place.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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