Riders back on the bus again

2013-10-13T19:45:00Z 2013-10-14T11:22:08Z Riders back on the bus againDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

Al Camden is tickled to learn he and others needing affordable transportation are back on the bus again.

"That's the only way I can get to my doctors in south Lake County," the 67-year-old Lake Station resident said.

Bus service through South Lake Community Services  for Camden and some 80 other riders in Lake Station, Hobart and Griffith had been restored effective Friday, Margot Ann Sabato said.

Sabato is the executive director for South Lake County Community Services based in Crown Point.

"Our clients in those communities only lost service for about four days," Sabato said. 

Sabato's agency had announced to its clients in those communities that bus services would be halted in early October due to lack of funding.

"Because of lack of funding we needed to cut back on services and it started a firestorm," Sabato said.

She said her agency was about $100,000 short on its funding, but received pledges of support from the Lake County Council.

"It will get us through the end of the year," Sabato said.

Her agency also has received pledges of financial support from some communities which utilize her services.

"I'll be back before the Lake County Council in November with a budget and by then I hope to hear from other communities so it would help relieve the county," Sabato said.

The South Lake County Community Services covers 11 municipalities, including nine townships plus the unincorporated portions of the county.

Funding for the service, which has eight buses in its fleet, comes from the federal government, state and county and grants.

A small fare is also charged to riders, Sabato said.

The cost for those riding the bus from Lake Station to the Merrillville area where several of his doctors are is $4 each way, Camden said.

"I have a van but I don't drive very far," Camden said

He said he has been relying on the bus service to take him to doctors in south Lake County for the past four to five years.

The cost to hire a taxi to drive him to doctors in Merrillville was $30 each way.

"I can't call a taxi," Camden said.

For more information about the bus service or to arrange a ride, call (219) 663-3869. 

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