Published On: Wed, Mar 28th, 2012

County Handi-bus will press new vehicle into service

HARTINGTON — Residents who use the Cedar County Transit System will soon be riding in a new Dodge mini-van.
The county’s cost for the new handi-bus will be a little over $6,700. The vehicle was purchased through grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration.
The county is responsible for a 20 percent match according to Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling.
“The county’s share was $6,722,” Dowling said. “The Federal government and the State will pick up the rest of the cost.”

If possible, the handi-bus  currently being used will continue to be utilized in the Transit System.
“We won’t know until we get instructions from the Dept. of Roads. We should find out when the new van is picked up later this month,” Dowling said. “The county may end up keeping it.”
The transit system, which is available for general public transportation regardless of age or disability, takes into consideration the special needs of the elderly and those with disabilities. The new van has a lowered floor and the ramp will accommodate a passenger with a small wheelchair.
Requests to use the handi-bus have been increasing according to Ann M. Lentz, manager of the county transit system.
“We are driving around 200 miles more on Tuesdays and Thursdays than we had done previously,” Lentz said. “We are making a trip to Norfolk and to Yankton for people who are on dialysis.”
During the month of February the handi-bus traveled 2,600 miles and had close to 100 boardings.
Drivers for the Cedar County Transit System include Lentz and substitute drivers Mary Rose Pinkelman and Carol Bruning.
Cost for riding the handi-bus includes:
Round trip, out of the county – $5
Round trip, in the county – $4
Within Hartington – $2
The fee for traveling to Omaha or Sioux Falls is $100.
People who need financial assistance in order to ride the handi-bus can make an application through American Medical Response/Access2Care (AMR/A2C). Lentz can help residents obtain an application form for AMR/A2C.

Handi-bus is important to residents

HARTINGTON — The handi-bus is important to a number of the residents in Cedar County.
The Cedar County Transit System can be critical for people who need a ride to a doctor’s appointment or for medical treatment especially for elderly people who no longer have family members living in the area.
Flo Lenzen, Laurel, has been riding the handi-bus two times a week.
“It is very important when you are by yourself – it is a necessity.” Lenzen said. “I am on oxygen and I am in rehab three times a week at Wayne. I use the handi-bus two times during the week.”
Lenzen has only positive things to say about the drivers for the transit system.
“Ann is a good one to be in charge. The other drivers are good too,” Lenzen said. “I am very much satisfied with the service. It is very handy to use when you need a ride.”
“It is a life saver,” for Lynn Kuhl who takes dialysis treatments in Norfolk every week. “It really helps me out.”
The drivers for the handi-bus make the trip enjoyable and safe according to Kuhl who is from Laurel.
“The drivers are very nice – we always have some fun,” he said. “They are very careful drivers. They do a good job.”
Mercedes Goeden, Hartington, believes the transit system is very important for people in Cedar County.
“I don’t drive – its really important. It is important for a lot of people,” Goeden said.
Goeden uses the handi-bus on a regular basis.
“I enjoy it. It is good to just be able to get out and do some things,” Goeden said.