United Way Spotlight

United Way Spotlight An agency which receives funding from United Way of Vermillion will be featured in this spotlight each week. The United Way of Vermillion Board of Directors wants you, the people of Vermillion, to know more about the agencies that receive United Way funding and the services which they provide to the Vermillion community.

The 2001 United Way campaign will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the new USD Alumni/Foundation building on north Dakota Street with the "Taste of Vermillion" celebration which is open to the public.

Come let United Way of Vermillion and Vermillion's restaurants treat you to delicious culinary creations. Join the United Way in thanking the volunteers who have given of their time to enhance past campaign efforts and in kicking off the new campaign.

This week's featured agency is South East Transit (SET), Vermillion's very own public transportation service which began serving Vermillion in August of 1997. South East Transit provides public transportation through a call and demand system for all Vermillion residents.

The South East Transit bus will pick you up at your residence and transport you to any place in Vermillion and, of course, return you to your home when you are ready. Since it is a bus system, there may be other pick ups and drop offs before you reach your destination. This means you should plan for a little extra time to get where you are going.

SET has two buses both of which have wheelchair lifts and thus are able to assist people with disabilities with their transportation needs as well those who do not need wheelchair access. Both buses run during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one bus runs in the evening and on weekends.

Transportation is available on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; on Tuesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A call and demand system means that the busses do not run regular routes throughout Vermillion. Customers call in to schedule rides and a route is planned from these calls. The rides are scheduled on a first come, first served basis.

Once customers call in, the dispatcher works within the existing schedule to accommodate their requests. SET encourages customers to call in as far in advance as possible as the time slots fill up fast. This sometimes results in requests having to be turned down because the buses are already too busy at the time the customer needs to ride.

SET has over 490 customers who depend on us to get them where they need to go. Transit takes children to school, day care, and summer activities. We also take people shopping, to church, to the doctor, to the nutrition site, to work, to college, and to visit friends and family.

The destinations of SET's riders are as varied as the riders themselves. Many of SET's customers have no other way to go places and the SET buses help them to remain independent.

The charge to ride the bus is $1.25 for a one-way trip to anywhere in Vermillion. The amount charged is actually much lower than the actual cost of providing the ride.

SET receives funding from a large number of sources among them federal and state funds which assist with administration and operating costs. These monies require local match money. Local contributors to South East Transit are the United Way of Vermillion, the City of Vermillion, the Vermillion Lion's Club, and Southeast South Dakota Activities Center, Inc.

In addition, SET has received federal and state grants to purchase newer vehicles. These grants also require local match money. Local contributors for purchasing buses are the United Way of Vermillion, the Civic Council, SESDAC, Inc., and the Clay County Commission.

As you can see, many people are involved with and have invested in providing transportation for those in Vermillion who cannot get around by themselves.

Give South East Transit a call when you need a ride. The number to call is 624-4978 and our motto is, "If you're ready, we're SET. Let's go!"

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