(BEDFORD) – The Transit Authority Stone City bus service provides valuable transportation services to Bedford residents.
The eight employees of TASC greet riders with smiles and make sure residents get to their desired location safely.
“It is unbelievable but people still do not know there is a bus service available in Bedford,” said Lisa Jewell, bus driver for the TASC bus service.
The bus service provides demand response and curb to curb advance reservation transportation within the City of Bedford.
A TASC bus driver’s day normally starts just before 6 a.m. with a pre-trip inspection to make sure the bus is ready to go.
“These are not just bus drivers, but drivers that are well trained in the many functions of what the job requires. From the Department of Transportation required training that encompasses inspection, safety, as well as learning how to load and secure those with wheelchairs and other accessories a rider may require. The City of Bedford requires additional training and all drivers are trained on how to deal with any emergency that arises on the bus,” said Dennis Parsley, Transportation Director, City of Bedford.
Of course, every driver is required to have a Class C commercial driver’s license.
The driver goes out and picks up or drops off riders at their destination based on a scheduling system. Riders normally call in the day before to schedule their trip.
The bus service does require 24-hour advanced notice of a transportation need. This allows getting passengers to work, doctor’s appointments, and other destinations on time.
“We try to arrive about five minutes before to make sure we are on time and able to get that person loaded and to their destination in a timely fashion,” said Lisa Jewell, driver for the TASC bus service.
“This service has really helped me; I have used this service for a very long time. I do not have a car and they get me around to where I need to be,” said Danette Payton of Bedford. “They have been very accommodating and functional.”
Payton said she has used this service for the last six years in order to get herself to work.
There are a total of three buses that run daily, and at times a fourth bus may be put into service if it is needed.
The buses are sanitized and mopped every shift and kept clean at all times. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, each bus is roped off to provide social distancing, and masks are required to keep all passengers safe.
As the bus drivers make their way through the city, they also look out for safety hazards that may need to be addressed by the street department. Road issues such as potholes, broken glass, and missing street signs are just a few of the things the drivers keep a look out for during their shift.
TASC occasionally does pick-ups for local nursing facilities and transports individuals to restaurants or other activities that they want to participate in. The TASC buses also have various Memorandum of Understanding agreements to handle emergency transportation needs of nursing homes and other facilities throughout the city should a disaster, fire, or other emergency occur within the City of Bedford.
Transportation Director Dennis Parsley is on his second year on the job with a staff that has been with the service for several years.
“When I first was hired for the position, I did not know anything about the job. So I told the staff, ‘you do your job, and I will learn mine’,” said Parsley.
“All of the staff have been with TASC at least over three years if not longer,” added Parsley. “My job is to supervise the operations, but mostly prepare the many reports for the City of Bedford, Department of Transportation and other state or federal agency may need.”
In 2019, there were more than 25,267 trips by riders in the City of Bedford. This year, however, that number is only around 800 from January to June.
“In March, the bus service was for essential travel; the only place we could take passengers were to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, or to pick up prescriptions,” said Parsley. “When those restrictions were put in place our ridership went down.”
At this time the service is available to anyone needing transportation within the City of Bedford between the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. Dispatch is closed between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.
- Regular bus fare – .75
- Senior Citizens – .50
- Children 10 and under with adult – .25
- General tokens 10 for $6.00
- Senior Citizen tokens (60 and older) 10 for $4.00
- Monthly pass – $15.00
Riders are expected to pay their fare with the correct change, a token, or bus pass. Drivers are not permitted to make change.
All buses are ADA compliant.
To make reservations for a trip call 812-275-1633. If you have any administrative questions call Dennis Parsley at 812-275-1633.
TASC is looking at other options to expand services from the City of Bedford. A shuttle service to Bloomington is being considered and officials are working closely with Rural Transit who provides transportation needs throughout Lawrence, Monroe, and Owen Counties. At this time there is nothing definite and officials are looking at what transportation needs may look like in the near future.