Orange County has public transit options; Regional Planning Commission wants more to know

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation and Environmental Division has been hosting workshops regionally, including one in Orange County, to inform and educate citizens, health and human services and nonprofits on the public transportation services that are available.

The focus is to make sure individuals are aware of the availability and efficiency of the region’s existing public transportation services.

“There are segments of the population that do not have a way to move around the community,” said Bob Dickenson, director of transportation and environmental resources.

The South East Texas Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation and Environmental Division conducts a workshop at the Orange Public Library to education local residents about available options. Janci Kimball, executive director for Nutrition & Services for Seniors, is pictured. (Photo courtesy of Bob Dickinson)

“The plan is based on an assessment of the needs of the transit dependent population with a special emphasis on older adults, persons with disabilities, persons with low incomes and veterans. The purpose of this plan is to improve coordination of public transportation services within our four-county region.”

The two rural public transportation subcontractors, Orange County Transportation and Orange Community Action Association, provide demand response, which is a curb-to-curb service to residents of Orange County.

“A resident in the Orange County area asked what were the days and hours that our rural transit provider, Orange County Transportation, goes into Beaumont and why there were not more days and specific times,” Dickenson said. “Our provider goes into Beaumont on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then Port Arthur on Thursday.”

A round trip from Orange to Beaumont or Port Arthur is $6 and begins picking up at 7 a.m. and returns at 11:30 a.m.

Local trips within Orange County are $2 each time the bus is boarded. Planning in advance makes the trips cheaper. Last-minute changes to the routes have additional fees.

The provider schedules the daily route and time of these trips to transport as many clients as they can on those days.

“We only have so much capacity and so many drivers to meet the needs of individuals in the community,” Dickenson said. “As the discussion progressed, there were some suggestions and ideas that came up on how we could collaborate on ways to help this individual with their specific transportation challenges.”

According to a dispatcher for Orange County Transit, the process for new transportation users begins by calling 409-745-9511. The dispatcher will ask for their name, address, phone number and date of birth.

Once they are in the system, they can schedule the trip.

Visit setrpc.org for more information.

— Written by Sierra Kondos