Triad members taken for ride on new bus service

Published 6:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lincoln County Triad members got taken for a ride Mondayafternoon by representatives of a local bus service who spoke tothe monthly meeting at the sheriff’s department.

Manager Tony Middleton and driver Mitchell Smith told Triadmembers of their Five County Public Transportation, a service whichprovides transportation for area citizens in need.

“We’re fortunate enough to provide transportation for citizens,whoever needs it,” said Middleton. “It’s not just for seniorcitizens, but the handicapped or those who simply need a ride.”

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Middleton said the bus will pick riders up at their house andprovide door-to-door service. A small donation is requested, butthe service will pick up with or without the donation.

“If the bus is not in your neighborhood on a particular day, thebus driver will still pick you up if you call,” Middleton said.

The 20-passenger Ford bus offers service to area grocery storesand other businesses, and also offers special trips to doctors’offices. Middleton said a 24-hour notice is requested, but if thereis an emergency and someone needs a ride for a medical reason,arrangements will be made.

“Medical calls take priority over all the others,” said Smith.”The shopping comes after we get through with those.”

Five County also offers special trips to Hattiesburg, Jacksonand Hazlehurst and can be chartered for individuals or groups thatwant to go to other places, although Middleton said those trips dohave a cost. He said some Lincoln County residents had beentransported for dialysis in the two months since they’ve beenfunctioning in the community, and that the service would even go tothe airport if need be.

Triad member J.J. Lucas said the transportation service makessense to him because he has to make trips to Jackson quite oftenand it has become costly.

“It’d be cheaper to take the bus to go to Jackson with the costof gas going up so much,” he said. “I haven’t been able to drive upthere for less than 20 bucks lately.”

And Smith pointed out that even within town it makes sense, asit gives customers a comfortable ride and leaves the driving to thedriver.

“It’s great for this time of year when the traffic is socongested with shoppers,” he said.

Smith also said it’s important to him that his job is also aministry.

“If a group gets on the bus and wants to pray, I don’t mindpraying with them,” he said. “God is the pilot, I’m just the littleman under Him.”

In addition, his passengers are extremely important to him,Mitchell said. He told the Triad group that he will never leavethem in a situation where they might need him.

“I don’t just leave you somewhere, I’ll give you my cell phonenumber and drop you off at the front door and pick you back upthere,” he said. “I also make sure you get in your house, or thatyour car starts, because you never know when something might notcrank.”

Constable Charles Ralph Smith, who heads up the Triad group,said he thinks the service is a good one that group members couldprofit from utilizing.

“I think their biggest trouble has been getting the word outthat they’re out there to help,” he said. “It sounds like a goodprogram to me.”

Middleton said people with questions are encouraged to call(601) 792-4196 or (601) 757-2577 for more information.