South East Transit will change name July 1

South East Transit will change name July 1 South East Transit, Vermillion's public transit service is changing its name. On July 1, it will be known as Vermillion Public Transit. The phone number is also changing. It will be 624-RIDE (7433). The change comes in time for its fifth year anniversary, which will be in August.

The Transportation Advisory Board recommended the change in name and phone number. Their thought was that the new name would state that we are for everyone in the Vermillion community. They further think the new number will be easier for customers to remember.

Public Transit began in Vermillion in August of 1997. SESDAC, Inc. and the Vermillion Senior Center joined their sources of a SESDAC vehicle and the Senior Citizen's van to provide transportation for the Vermillion community. SESDAC, Inc. took on the administration of the service and the Senior Center agreed to support the system by having representatives on the Advisory Board. Because of these coordination efforts, they began receiving partial funding for administration and operating expenses from South Dakota Department of Transportation. The remaining money must come from local sources. The percentages are as follows:

* South Dakota Department of Transportation � 60 percent.

* SESDAC, Inc. � 18 percent.

* Customer fares � 10 percent.

* City of Vermillion � 7 percent.

* United Way � 5 percent.

On June 11, Gov. William Janklow announced that community transit agencies throughout the state will be receiving new vehicles. Vermillion will be receiving three new buses and one minivan from this grant. In the past, the state bought used vehicles for the transit agencies and the community had to pay 20 percent of the cost of these vehicles. South East Transit received three of these used vehicles over the last three years and local money came from the Civic Council, Clay County and United Way. These new buses are paid for 100 percent by state and federal funding sources.

Transit charges $1.25 for a one-way trip in Vermillion. They average 2,800 rides per month. Transit is for everyone in Vermillion. There is no special criteria to ride the bus. In April 2002, transit served 148 different customers:

* People with disabilities � 32 percent.

* Senior citizens � 28 percent.

* Children � 25 percent.

* General population � 15 percent.

To schedule a ride with Vermillion Public Transit, one needs to call at least 24 hours in advance of your ride. Rides are on a first come, first serve basis.

They advise calling in as soon as you know you will need a ride as time fills up fast.

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