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Transportation numbers up in 2017

By JENNIFER PERYAM - jperyam@h-ponline.com

Folks are getting around in Huntington. The number of trips provided by Huntington Area Transportation in 2017 increased almost six percent from 2016.

Holly Saunders, Huntington County Council On Aging executive director, provided a HAT report during Monday’s Huntington County Board of Commissioners meeting. The council oversees the HAT program.

The total number of trips provided in 2017 was 39,907, up from 37,661 trips in 2016.

“We purchased two vehicles last year that allowed us to provide more trips,” Saunders said.

She said HAT offers public transportation for anyone in the county no matter age or income.

“We will pick up anyone in Huntington County and take them anywhere in the county. We also will take them out of town on a limited basis depending on how many drivers and vans we have,” Saunders said.

Out of town rides have been to Marion, Warsaw, Fort Wayne and Columbia City. The cost in the county depends on how far someone is going. It ranges from $3 to $5 each way for those 59 and younger. For those 60 and older, a donation is requested.

“People could not get to where they need to go without us. With these numbers, there is obviously a need,” Saunders said.

She said transportation  to doctor’s appointments accounts for 33 percent of the runs. Other destinations are Wal-Mart, libraries, employment and taking kids to school.

HAT has a fleet of 19 vehicles. All but two vehicles are ADA compliant. They want to purchase two more vehicles this year.

HAT is in the process next month of applying to the Indiana Department of Transportation for funding to purchase the vehicles. They will find out in June if they have received the funding.

“We are really busy. Some of the vehicles are getting old and require too much maintenance and will we retire two vehicles,” Saunders said.

The county provides HAT matching funds. United Way and Parkview Health Partners also provide funding. The system is also supported through fares and donations.

There are 19 drivers who pick up riders and get them where they need to be Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To receive a ride from HAT call 260-356-3006 one day before a ride is needed in Huntington County. For rides out of county, call two weeks prior.