This letter is in response to the Madison County Transit (MCT) story which ran in the Highland News Leader on Jan. 14, 2016. The story raises questions about MCT services that I would like to address. As the article indicates, MCT transitioned the No. 14 Highland EZ-Ride from a demand response service into a new fixed-route — the No. 14 Highland Shuttle — in May, 2015. At that time, MCT also extended the No. 13 Troy-Glen Carbon to the City of Highland.
The EZ-Ride service required riders to call and request trips, but the new No. 14 Highland Shuttle eliminates that condition. It operates on an hourly schedule, with designated bus stops and a regular fixed-route; providing predictable access to jobs, shopping and medical services throughout Highland. Transitioning to a fixed-route also allows passengers to take advantage of monthly passes, the State of Illinois’ Free Ride program for seniors and individuals with disabilities and the free Summer Youth Pass for students. Additionally, the No. 13 connects Highland residents to Troy, Glen Carbon and the MCT fixed-route network creating access to employment, classes and services throughout Madison County.
Your article questioned why MCT does not stop at various locations and why certain stops were on the No. 13. Realizing that in a one hour cycle, MCT could only serve a limited number of stops on the No. 14, staff placed a few stops on the No. 13 and created a common transfer point at the Highland Walmart. MCT currently serves the following destinations on the No. 13 and No. 14: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Highland High School and Middle School, Woodcrest Shopping Center, Walgreens, CVS, Plaza Garden Apartments, McDonalds, Northtown Shopping Center, Mulberry Apartments, The Square, Highland Home, Broadway (between Walnut and Poplar), Super Valu, Faith Countryside and Poplar (between Broadway and 26th).
In addition to the No. 13 and No. 14, MCT also provides the following transportation services for the City of Highland:
▪ No. 14X Highland Express: Direct, weekday commuter service to and from Downtown St. Louis.
▪ No. 13X Highland-SIUE Express: Direct weekday service to and from the SIUE campus.
▪ Runabout Paratransit: Door-to-door demand responsive service for registered elderly and disabled individuals.
▪ RideFinders: Free carpool, vanpool program which offers the “Guaranteed Ride Home.”
▪ St. Joseph’s Van: MCT Donated a Van to St. Joseph’s Hospital to assist with mobility in outlying areas.
MCT is proud of the service that it operates for the residents of Highland and the mobility that these routes provide. Our vehicles are ADA-accessible, and have been since our inception.
We realize there are ways to improve the service and look forward to making appropriate adjustments as we receive comments from passengers and the public. As evidenced by the recent addition of Highland Home and the Atrium Apartments at Faith Countryside, MCT is responsive to requests for service where there is demand and where safety and scheduling permits. We know that the Highland Food Pantry is a desired stop, and have examined a number of options for serving that location. Unfortunately there is not a safe way for us to do so at this time. If we could serve it, we would. That said, we hope that passengers will use the nearby stop at 9th and Mulberry to access the Food Pantry.
With 381 boardings in December, and more riders learning about the service every day, we are confident that the No. 14 Highland Shuttle will continue to grow and meet the transportation needs of individuals in Highland.
Jerry J. Kane, managing director
Madison County Transit