The Green River Intra-county Transit System (GRITS) has received half of its new fleet of 45 busses and vans. These vehicles were provided through $2 million worth of grants.
Audubon Area Community Services Transportation Director Dan Lanham said these vehicles were provided at a time when they were most needed.
“It’s great because it’s a major expense for us,” he said. “Times have been a little tough because of cuts in the Medicaid fleet.”
GRITS provides clean, safe and reliable transportation at no or low cost, and Medicaid-eligible clients without vehicles are provided transportation to approved Medicaid appointments without costs.
GRITS currently runs 95 busses and vans regularly, so having 45 of their vehicles replaced with brand-new models was something Lanham feels extremely grateful for, he said.
“We’re glad we’re getting them because it helps us save money at a time when we really need it,” he said. “It’s good for our clients to have nice, clean busses to be transported in.”
GRITS stays busy providing rides to those in need, Lanham said. On average, the vans and busses provide 2,500 trips a day across 22 counties, including 1,000 trips a day for riders who live in the seven-county Green River Area Development District (GRADD).
“The guidelines say we have to replace our vehicles every four years, but we’ve never had the funds for that,” Lanham said. “After seven to eight years, these busses have close to 300,000 miles on them.”
GRITS was able to obtain these vehicles, including four transits and four cutaway busses, through a 5310 grant that funds projects for the elderly and disabled, and a 5339B grant that funds projects for buses and bus facilities to bring them to a state of good repair.
The second half of the new vehicles are currently on order, and Lanham hopes they’ll be ready to hit the pavement by January or February 2020. The used vehicles are for sale on eBay, and have been sold all across the world — from Mexico to Poland, Lanham said.
“Two minivans went to Poland and some cutaway busses went to Mexico,” he said.