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Troup Transit making a difference

Since 1980, Troup Transit has been making it possible for local seniors to socialize, take part in activities and make it to doctor appointments. In that time, those taking advantage of the program have developed a sense of community with their fellow riders and their friends at the Active Life centers, which are the primary destinations for the buses.

“[Troup Transit has] a very positive impact on our participants and empowering those that don’t have vehicles of their own or are no longer able to drive. They are able to continue to attend here as well as go to doctors’ appointments and maintain their independence,” said Dan Wooten, the aging services manager for Active Life. “One aspect of our mission is to help keep our participants independent, so a part of that is being able to have transportation. Troup Transit provides that for many of our members. We have a large group that takes advantage of it.”

Many of the seniors who use Troup Transit said that the buses are the reason why they are able to regularly attend activities at Active Life.

“I had retired from Community Action, and my daughter got tired of me sitting around the house,” said Betty Cameron, who has been riding Troup Transit for about a decade. “I didn’t have anything to do, so I was just sitting around the house. … They kept coming out and talking to people about joining the center, so she just got me and brought me on out here. I’ve been here ever since.”

According to Wooten, about 30 people use Troup Transit to get to the LaGrange Active Life. Troup Transit also serves the West Point and Hogansville area, and recently received additional state funding due to its above state average levels of use in the area. The program also uses some federal funding. Wooten attributes the high rates of use to a combination of a wide variety of activities at Active Life centers and the high cost of transportation for seniors who cannot drive themselves.

“We have so many different types of activities that go on simultaneously. We’ll have people participating and playing billiards or cards or dominos or doing arts and crafts or at the computer lab. Then in the other building, they are exercising. There is a big exercise class. I think we have about 60 people in that class,” Wooten said. “There is a fitness machine room, and they have a healthy living class going on.”

Active Life members said that they appreciate that the county provides a way to access those activities when they don’t have other means of transportation.

“It makes me feel very good because they don’t have to,” said Cameron, who admitted that she would not be able to afford daily cab fare. “This is the only cab that you can get for free, and it is a free ride. The bus drivers are very nice, and [Active Life] is a place to come and a place to be. I recommend coming out here and riding Troup Transit to anybody.”

The service does not charge seniors for rides to county Active Life centers. However, it does charge a small fee for transportation to doctor appointments.

“Everybody works now, and sometimes you can’t get a family member just to drop things,” Cameron said. “When you call Troup Transit, they’ll get you there.”

Lynn Howard, from the administrative division of Troup County Parks and Recreation who organizes the service, recognized the hard work that the drivers put in, and seniors who take part in the program said they appreciate the drivers as well.

“They are really nice, and they help you on the bus and off the bus if you can’t walk,” said Betty Jean Boykin, who rides Troup Transit. “It is something to do to keep you busy.”

The Troup Transit buses are also regularly utilized for trips to locations near and far.   

“We took 66 people on Tuesday [of last week] to the governor’s mansion that was decorated for Christmas, and so we took people from LaGrange and West Point on that trip,” Wooten said. “That is funded through the same funds.”

He said that he considers Troup Transit an important source of empowerment for older adults.

“It is a source of empowerment for our older adults that even if they don’t have a car or have to give up driving, they can still be able to spend time here with their friends and participate in activities,” Wooten said. “It is a very big deal.”

To learn more about Troup Transit, visit Trouprec.org/Facilities/Transit or call (706) 883-1673.