Public transportation goes far beyond simply getting people where they need to go. A safe, reliable public transit system plays a key role in stimulating economic development, attracting and retaining business, furthering equality and building healthier, more sustainable communities. In fact, transit is the cornerstone of local economies in urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide – and rural communities in Missouri are no exception.
Every dollar invested in public transportation generates approximately four dollars in economic returns by promoting community growth and revitalization. According to the American Public Transit Association, 87 percent of public transit trips directly benefit the economy by getting people to work and connecting them to local businesses, retail and restaurants. Here at OATS Transit, 45% of customers utilize our services to get to and from work; 37% rely on it to gain access to goods and services, businesses and educational facilities; and 17% use it for medical purposes.
April 25 is National Get on Board Day. OATS Transit, in conjunction with the Missouri Public Transit Association, is standing behind the American Public Transit Association to help spread awareness of and increase support for public transportation on this day and throughout the year. Whether you choose to ride it or not – it matters. And, funding and support for it is critical not only in urban areas like Columbia where a city bus system operates – but all across the state. Rural communities rely on transit just as much are urban centers do.
Dorothy Yeager is the Executive Director of OATS, Inc., and executive committee member of the Missouri Public Transit Association.