By Miriam Zayadi
The Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) in Flint is providing free fare for local Fixed Route and Your Ride services Monday, tomorrow, Jan.15, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to a press release from the MTA.
The Free Fare Day offer only applies to the Fixed Route and Your Ride services effective during normal business hours. Certain limitations can apply as transportation guidelines and eligibility criteria remain in place. Those eligible for Your Ride services need to schedule their ride at least 24 hours prior by calling (810) 767-5541. MTA states in their release that under the leadership of CEO Ed Benning, MTA “strives to make a positive difference in the community every day” and that they are “glad to be able to offer this service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.”
Pricing for all fares and passes is listed on the MTA website MTAFlint.org with one-way fares for primary and peak routes ranging from $0.10 for transfer passengers, $0.85 for ADA certified and reduced fare passengers, and $1.75 for the general public.
Passengers are eligible for reduced fare if they are a senior of 65 years or older, on Medicare, or a person with disabilities. Prices for Your Ride services range from $2.25 for passengers that are ADA certified or eligible for reduced fare to $3.00 for the general public. The Your Ride service is a paratransit service that runs from curb to curb picking up Genesee County residents that may be elderly, disabled, or live outside of the MTA fixed route service area.
The fare for regional routes is listed as $3 for all passengers, and Rides to Wellness is listed as $20 for all passengers. Rides to Wellness is a non-emergency medical transportation program offered by MTA that provides door to door and same day services for passengers going to health-related appointments.
The MTA provides transportation to the community with over $250,000 in funding from the U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Founded in 1971, the MTA has evolved from a small local transit service with a fleet of 26 buses serving the city of Flint to a county wide organization with a fleet of 136 active buses and 162 paratransit Your Ride vehicles.
Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with free bus fare is not the only way the MTA station acknowledges the historical significance of the civil rights movement, according to its website.
Since its unveiling March 26, 2011, the MTA’s statue of Rosa Parks sculpted by Anthony Frudakis has stood as a reminder of the importance of social justice and inclusivity especially in the historically rich community of Genesee county.
In its 2016-2026 Strategic Plan, MTA outlines its core values and goals along with the strategies being used to implement them. One of them is its Customer Focus which involves “Providing MTA information in a variety of formats to accommodate a diverse population” and “Implementing the Disability Network’s Bus Stop Accessibility Study recommendations to ensure bus stops and shelters are user-friendly and completely accessible.”
These strategies reflect a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility to align better with the needs brought forth by the community, according to the Strategic Plan.
In a letter to the citizens of Genesee County, Board Chair Paul D. Newman states that “in the Genesee County community, over 80,000 persons are affected by some form of disability.” He continues, “A full family of services that provide the highest level of independence is a priority in this Strategic Plan.”
The MTA’s decision to offer free fare Jan. 15, in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day underscores a commitment to accommodating the community, according to its announcement of the free fare day.
EVM reporter Miriam Zayadi can be contacted at email@example.com.