TRAVIS COUNTY (KXAN) — Catharine Weston-Mims gets around in a wheel chair, after having two strokes.
“My kidneys have failed and I have to go to dialysis so I can continue to live.”
Since Catharine can’t drive, she relies on CARTS (Capital Area Rural Transportation System) buses to take her to her appointments, something she was told was ending.
“I received a call on Tuesday about mid-day, advising me that as of January 4, which is Monday, CARTS would no longer be available for transportation,” says Catharine.
When we called CARTS Thursday morning, we were told the same thing.
However, Catharine also received a notice, saying rides would only be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After much confusion, CARTS told us late Thursday afternoon that service from Pflugerville to Austin is not ending, but will be reduced. Buses to Manor and Del Valle will also be limited.
The general manager of CARTS says they’re still providing rides to rural areas that have urbanized, but their funding from Travis County has stayed the same. CARTS says when they asked the county for an extra $297,708 they said no, forcing them to cut services. The current contract with Travis County is $130,752.
Catharine isn’t happy with the short notice.
“We need at least a month to prepare, because many of us don’t have other rides.”
Catharine says when she called CARTS back, after we were told service was only being reduced, she was told she no longer lived in a rural area, and she will not be provided service, so others may be affected.
Last fiscal year, CARTS provided nearly 400,000 passenger trips. About 8,000 originated in Pflugerville. Roughly 143 people who took those trips, have Pflugerville addresses.
We did reach out to the county, but have not heard back.