Thank you for raising concern over the Madison County Transit (MCT) route established in Highland in May of 2015.
Given the managing director’s response in last week’s paper addressing the community’s concerns, it appears we finally got their attention. That’s good, because I initially tried to make contact in July of 2015, as did the Highland Food Pantry, but our efforts met with no response or perhaps indifference.
As a St. Joseph Hospital Friends Van driver familiar with the Highland community, I became aware from the start that the MCT route was poorly designed, making several unnecessary stops and omitting several important ones. I waited a couple of months for MCT to make adjustments which were not forthcoming. Eight months later little has changed despite efforts to the contrary.
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To my knowledge, the feedback provided has been ignored, and knowledgeable people in the community have not been consulted. The van continues to ride around town all day, every day, making unnecessary stops while those who need the access are not being serviced; all for lack of a better planned route. The service is clearly needed but only if it is executed properly. More specifically:
▪ Route 14 should service the Suppiger area without a Route 13 transfer to get to Walmart.
▪ High school and middle school kids don’t ride the MCT bus. They either ride the school bus, drive their own car, or share rides. During the summer, no one is even there.
▪ Route 14 could easily make a safe loop through the Highland Food Pantry. Physically compromised people cannot walk a block or two with multiple sacks of groceries.
▪ Route 14 should go just one block further South to Daffodil Street where there are potential riders.
▪ Route 14 should also service Legacy Place on the west end of town.
▪ Route 14 should also service at least one of the parks, especially Lindendale Park during the summer.
▪ Route 14 should also service Highland’s Tru-Buy, as it does other grocery stores.
▪ Route 14 should go to 30th, street where there are many potential riders.
On a bigger stage, it’s sad to say, but there appears to be no relationship between ridership and funding. I suspect that MTC gets funded whether anyone rides or not because there certainly is no accountability. A quick look at the MCT balance sheet for June of 2015 indicates $22,608,067 in revenues over expenses for the year. They report an ending fund balance of $35,932,238. Not bad for an organization that collects maybe $20 a day from ridership in Highland; and that’s on a good day.
I suspect MCT is grossly overfunded in a state that is deeply in debt. Gov. Rauner need look no further than this kind of negligent state funding for the cause. If this is happening in Madison County, then it’s likely to be the same all over the state. We taxpayers are being taken for a ride to the poor house while municipal corporations like MCT get rich at our expense.
Highland resident and taxpayer
Highland School Board member
St. Joseph’s Hospital Friends Van driver