Exeter contracts Dial-A-Ride with Visalia
By Mackenzie Carmen
exeter – Following The City of Exeter’s decision to cut funding to their Dial-A-Ride service, the City Council has decided to begin contracting with Visalia’s Dial-A-Ride service; however, this new service comes with a more expensive price tag.
Exeter’s Dial-A-Ride seniors and the disabled had been paying $1. They will now pay $2.25 per ride, and general fares will be $3.25. This increase will likely be hard for some residents to get used to, but City Manager, Randy Groom, say Exeter is working to alleviate some of the growing pains.
“We haven’t promised anything yet, but we’re working with Visalia to find a way to subsidize the fares for a while. It’s something we’re trying to do to soften the transition a little bit,” said Groom, who added that these subsidizes will only be temporary.
One way or another, Exeter’s Dial-A-Ride users were going to have to stay paying more for the service. Even if Exeter decided to keep its Dial-A-Ride, Groom said users’ fares would have had to increase anyway to pay for the costly service.
“Even though its unfortunate that the fares are going up, they actually aren’t going up as much as they would have Groom.
The decision to switch to Visalia’s Dial-A-Ride was not an easy one to make. Groom said the City either had to chose to stop providing the service all together or find a way to provide Dial-A-Ride differently. There were even discussions of possibly having local churches provide the service, but it was decided that this route wouldn’t be feasible do to reliability issues.
“The City of Visalia was really the best choice in terms of somebody that was already providing the service, and is able to ramp up and do that. They already provide service for us on the weekends, so really it’s just changing that to everyday,” said Groom.
Other than the financial differences, riders will also have to schedule their trips now. If a rider needs to be at a location at a specific time, they must make reservations before hand. However, if a rider’s request is not time sensitive, a driver will arrive when they’re available. Times cannot be determined until a user calls.
Visalia’s Dial-A-ride operates Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends. To make a reservation you may call 559-713-4750. If you want more information on how to receive a transit card, you may call 559-713-4100.