RSVP extends bus ride service hours for Pratt patrons

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt RSVP transportation buses serve all ages, not just senior citizens, and a recently-received grant now allow for extended hours of service. Rides are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, and 8 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Call for pickup at 620-672-7811. All in-town rides are 50 cents per ride.

Pratt RSVP has received a $106,222 grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation-funded Access Innovation and Collaboration Program to expand the hours for the city’s public transportation bus system to run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, which became effective as of November 16.

Tiffany Ailstock, director of Pratt Public Transportation, said the funds will be used for salaries for the program’s six bus drivers, three dispatchers and for the navigators who ride the bus to provide assistance if needed.

Ailstock said one of the three public transportation buses will run the extended hours, with two buses maintaining the 8 am. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday schedule.

“Our buses serve citizens of all ages, not limited to senior citizens,” Ailstock said.

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place that limit the 12-seat mini-buses to six passengers.

“These expanded hours benefit residents who use the service, allowing them options for early evening and Saturday activities,” Ailstock said. “We’re excited for our riders.”

Ailstock said RSVP tracks bus rides by destination classifications of work, education and medical, with November 2020 statistics reporting 416 work-related trips, 220 education-related trips and 224 medical-related trips. Trips, such as shopping, not falling into these categories, are not recorded.

“I don’t think most people realize just how many community members rely on public transportation to get to and from work,” Ailstock said. “This new schedule is a real advantage for many of these riders.”

The new schedule also will also offer advantages to residents wishing to attend special events.

“I especially hope residents will call the bus to enjoy a tour of Lemon Park Lights,” Ailstock said. “Pratt Public Transportation is available for all ages. Call a few of your buddies and arrange a public transportation evening to remember.”

Pratt Public Transportation also has a van equipped with a ramp that travels to out-of-county destinations within a 75-mile radius, which include Wichita, Hutchinson, Great Bend and Dodge City, with rates based on mileage. Pratt Public transportation does not cross state lines.

For in-town travel, public transportation rides remain the same at 50 cents per ride. Phone contact to schedule a ride is 620-672-7811.

Ailstock said the grant funds are anticipated to cover extended hours through November 2021.

“We hope it will be well enough received for us to apply for a grant to be able to continue it,” Ailstock said.