No Public Transportation in Parts of Ocala...Leave Residents With No Choice
At the Chevron on Highway 40 and Northwest 60th Avenue on Tuesday more than 200 residents came out to sign a petition, in hopes of getting city buses out to their community.
It didn't take much for Mike McGriff to get residents to sign this petition.
"A lot of individuals have stopped gave testimonies why we do need bus routes. A lot of individuals have stopped to say he we can find maybe employment we can do better things by getting buses out here," said McGriff.
Everyone who lives west of I-75 has no access to public transportation. Leaving them no option but to walk, ride a bike, find a ride or catch a cab, and many residents said some of those options are pretty pricey.
"I have a 91-year-old godmother that depends on taxis every month and she spends close to $150 a month just on taxi fares," said McGriff.
"Did you guys ever try taking a taxi?"
"God no we couldn't afford that," said Barbara Simms.
Nelson Suarez who has been living in Ocala for 10 years, depends on his neighbors.
"To get to the store, for a gallon of milk. A two liter soda to eat for dinner tonight. I mean it cost me $6.00 for a 2-liter soda so I can have something to drink for dinner," said Suarez.
Even people who do have a car agree this is an issue.
"There are so many people who need transportation anywhere for hospitals, doctor visits anything. To go to Walmart. They need that," said Jessica Martinez.
Even businesses are affected according to the property manager at Oaktree Village.
"A lot of the residents that don't even live here first call and say are you on the bus route and if we are not on the bus route a lot of them can't even leave here because they
depend on it," said Christine Shelton.
"We pay enough. We pay the county to do these things, but they don't do these things why," said Akrvey Rouse.
Greg Slay is the Director of Ocala Marion County Transportation Planning Organization.
He said due to the county and city budget issues, the board decided not to add any additional bus services.
Slay said to extend a bus route that would go west of I-75 would cost the city and the county about $750,000 for the first year and then about $300,000 the following years.
The Marion County Tranist offers limited services for residents who need to get to doctor appointments, but residents said that's not enough.
"Why doesn't it come out here. This is a whole big residential area and everybody back there can benefit from being on the bus," said Simms.
On Wednesday, McGriff will at Nickens Family Store on State Road 27.
McGriff hopes to get 2000 signatures. He said he will then go to the county commission meeting.
If that doesn't work, his next move is to go to Tallahasee and speak to someone from the Florida Department of Transportation.
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