A new transportation service is on the horizon thanks to Panhandle Trails Intercity Public Transit, a Nebraska nonprofit organization based in Alliance, NE. Panhandle Connect will match passengers with independent contractor drivers receiving a base rate plus mileage. This program will focus on assisting seniors and those with disabilities, but is also available to the general public of all ages.
Panhandle Connect is intended to assist individuals beyond the boundaries where public transportation does not travel, to reach the closest public transportation service available, and fill transportation gaps when other transportation services are unavailable, such as evenings and weekends.
"By increasing transportation options for the Nebraska Panhandle, we are building a stronger region with more vibrant communities and mobility options for all, says Jonnie Kusek, Chief Operations Officer for Panhandle Trails Intercity Public Transit, a division of Senior Services, Inc."
In launching the program, the first step is finding the right drivers.
Panhandle Connect is requesting applications from individuals over age 21 who would be interested in joining their "Wheel Team".
They can serve their local community from the comfort of their personal vehicle and also receive mileage for their vehicle to cover the costs. There is also the option for nonprofit organizations to "Team Up for Transportation.” This is where organizations recruit individuals to become eligible drivers with Panhandle Connect, cover specific time frames of each week and proceeds earned will be allocated to the specified organization of choice.
There are thousands of individuals in the panhandle who lack reliable transportation resources to access medical care, employment, grocery stores or to prevent isolation with increased access to social activity in rural communities.
Recently, Panhandle Trails Intercity Public Transit has partnered with, Feonix—Mobility Rising, a Nebraska non-profit centered around the goal of providing transportation for all, to expand their services. This new service is funded through a grant with the Nebraska Department of Transportation.