By Lindsay Reed
OATS, Inc., provided 611 Barry County residents with 178,565 miles of transportation between July 1, 2011, and June 30.
"OATS has continued to meet the challenges facing transit over the last few years," said Dorothy Yeager, executive director. "We will continue to fulfill our mission of providing 'reliable transportation for transportation disadvantaged Missourians so they can live independently in their own communities."
Yeager also said that OATS is committed to providing safe, reliable and courteous transportation service.
According to OATS, transportation provided in Barry County was for the following purposes: employment, 12,050; en route stops, 6,723; essential shopping, 6,285 miles; medical, 3,985 miles; business, 3,282 miles; nutrition, 1,185 miles; education, 279 miles; and recreation, four miles.
An example of an en-route stop is stopping by the pharmacy after a doctor's appointment.
OATS served 33,769 Missourians and offered 1,702,272 trips over the last year. That is a 6.2 percent increase over the number of trips recorded in 2011. The largest number of trips, 567,851, was for employment transportation.
OATS, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit corporation providing specialized transportation for senior citizens, people with disabilities and the rural general public in 87 Missouri counties. The organization has a staff of over 750 employees and a fleet of 800 vehicles statewide.
OATS is funded, in part, by an allotment of federal funds from the Missouri Department of Transportation, and through contracts with Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program (MEHTAP), private contracts, rider donations and contributions.
OATS' Southwest Region is comprised of the counties of Barry, Barton, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Ozark, Polk, Stone, Taney, Webster and Wright.
For more information on OATS, Inc., or to view bus schedules, visit www.oatstransit.org.