Senior citizens get full bus service back

RANTOUL — No more walking in the cold for some participants of the Peace Meal program .

Five-day-a-week C-CARTS bus service has been instituted to take senior citizens to the program held weekdays at the Wabash Avenue building that also houses Community Service Center.

In years past, seniors were transported to the Peace Meal program five days a week by a village of Rantoul bus. But when the village contracted with the C-CARTS bus service last year, the transportation was cut back to three days a week.

Wendell Golston, president of Rantoul Concerned Citizens, said he saw seniors walking in the cold to make it to the meals on days the service was not offered. He urged the village to see that the five-day-a-week service returned.

Rantoul Rec Superintendent Luke Humphrey said the service was reinstituted Feb. 1.

“They decided they were able to go to five days a week,” Humphrey said of C-CARTS officials.

He said when the bus service first started, C-CARTS personnel said five days a week wouldn’t work.

“They basically told us they couldn’t do Tuesday and Thursday,” Humphrey said. “This was never an issue of budget” by the village.

He said the village will pay the fares of all those seniors wishing to attend the Peace Meal program.

“Whether that continues or not is something the board will have to decide,” Humphrey said.

He said Rec Department official Andy Graham contacted C-CARTS personnel, who agreed to the change to five days a week.

Village Administrator Rick Snider said C-CARTS’ original problem with being able to offer service only three days a week to Peace Meal was due to  equipment and staff unavailability. However, when they were contacted, they reworked that “to accommodate us.”

Debbra Sweat, Concerned Citizens of Rantoul vice president, thanked village officials for the change at last week’s village board study session.

“I wanted to thank Mayor (Chuck) Smith and the trustees, (Village Administrator) Rick Snider and the Rec Department for getting the Peace Meal program” transportation returned to five days a week.

She said she will make a commitment to increase Peace Meal attendance numbers by regularly attending bingo there with her mother.

One of the seniors affected by the change, 65-year-old Deidre March, told the Press she and other Peace Meal participants are happy for the return to five-day-a-week bus service.

“They’re very happy about it,” she said.

She said they are wondering, however, if there will be a return of senior bus service to County Market and Walmart.

Snider said the village is “still working” on a return to C-CARTS service for Peace Meal attendees.

The problem, he said, is that some seniors only want to attend Peace Meal while others only want one store or the other.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com

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