Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bus Stops Here . . . Nevermore

The City of Lowell is so proud of its much-litigated stagecoach, but it doesn't care much for other forms of mass transit. The poor and the elderly will have to find another way to get to Wal-Mart in the future, because Lowell will no longer pay its $60,000 contribution to keep bus service provided by Ozark Regional Transit.

City officials said they think most of the people riding the Lowell bus route are coming from Springdale or Rogers, rather than Lowell citizens going somewhere else. Why would they possibly want to, after all? Shawn Ingram, Lowell director of engineering projects and parks, said the city might agree to contribute around $6,000 next year to cover the paratransit services provided by ORT for disabled citizens.

Ozark Regional Transit has recently raised rates for passengers to make up for the dwindling federal support for operating the system. Congressman John Boozman (R-AR3) is from Benton County and has his district office in Lowell, but he has been even more ineffective in securing mass transit funds for the district than he has been in getting adequate federal highway funding.

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