By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
MCMINNVILLE – The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) kicked off its new public transportation service in Warren County by offering free rides in McMinnville on the Go Upper Cumberland buses during Senior Day at the Warren County Fair.
Participants were able to ride the new city buses without charge to experience how easy it is to ride and to see the different pick up and drop off locations, which includes Walmart, Three Star Mall, Beersheeba Towers and more.
“It’s been something that Mayor Haley started talking about several years ago,” said UCHRA Deputy Director and Transportation Director Becky Harris. “We’ve been working on this at least five years and have done a lot of work to get it to this point.”
UCHRA’s two Go Upper Cumberland buses are now running in McMinnville on established bus routes six days a week. Route times are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Right now, the hours that we are operating in McMinnville are the same as what we are operating in Cookeville,” Harris said.
The cost to ride is $1 per trip, with half price fares for disabled residents and seniors over age 60. Frequent riders can purchase a one-day pass for unlimited rides for $3 or a monthly pass for $25 that includes 30 rides.
“McMinnville is a lot like Cookeville. It is laid out conducive to this type of service,” said Harris.
Experience in developing the Cookeville ‘CATS’ bus system and the UCARTS demand response transportation system were invaluable when planning out a route for the McMinnville system.
“When they laid it out and planned, they did a good job, so it makes the pickup locations where the ridership has been on our normal demand response transportation,” explained Harris. “We already go there every day, multiple times a day, so when we got ready to do our route, we knew where. It was close enough in town and on the main street, it made setting the route a given. We knew where we had to go.”
Individuals interested in riding can be picked up at any of the established route pickup locations or individuals can request to be picked up off the route by arranging the pickup with UCHRA at the toll-free number (833) 828-7477 one hour in advance.
“The growing need for public transportation has been met locally with the introduction of the new Go Upper Cumberland buses,” said Warren County Executive Jimmy Haley. “For the first time in decades, our most needy residents will have access to regular transit services. It is a proud moment across Warren County, and we appreciate the investment by UCHRA.”
Go Upper Cumberland also offers transportation services for people with disabilities. Drivers can make accommodations by contacting UCHRA Mobility Director at email@example.com or (833)-828-7477.
If you or someone you know is interested in riding the bus put would like more information, please call the local Warren County UCHRA office at 931-473-6652.
“While the elderly will use it, we feel like in McMinnville there has been such a demand for services, that we will see it being used by all age groups,” said Harris. “We’re excited and the citizens of McMinnville have been very receptive. We’re excited to be a partner with the city of McMinnville and Warren County. “
This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency aims to improve the quality of life to residents of the 14-county area; helping residents move from dependence to independence. Visit www.uchra.com for more information about the agency’s services and find them on social media at facebook.com/uchumanresourceagency and Instagram (@uchumanresourceagency).