Port Arthur Transit to begin Saturday service Feb. 1

Published 12:15 am Saturday, December 21, 2019

Port Arthur Transit plans to relaunch Saturday service in early 2020.

Citing feedback from customers, PAT director Ivan Mitchell said his department would begin running fixed-route transit and paratransit routes Feb. 1. Saturday transit will run from 7:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.

“We’ve recently been having a lot of discussion with our customers,” Mitchell told the Port Arthur City Council earlier this week. “They had been giving requests over several months about how can we expand service in terms of service hours and can we make them more frequent.”

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PAT, Mitchell said, conducted a service with fixed-route transit and paratransit riders over a three- to four-month period and said they were “definitely interested” in some form of weekend transportation. Paratransit services provide rides that accommodate those who cannot used fixed routes.

“Most want Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “Of course, there’s a cost to doing it two days of the week.”

The city last operated Saturday service about five years ago, Mitchell said, but did not state why it was pulled back. Bringing Saturday routes back would put Port Arthur in line with cities comparable to Port Arthur’s size that offer the same.

“This is a culmination of speaking with people and customers,” Mitchell said. “Any of them say they have to get to work on Saturday. They sometimes can’t, or they have to pay for a cab. They have to get a family member. On a paratransit side, sometimes, those people just want to go shopping.”

The Saturday lines would run from 7:15 a.m. 6:15 p.m., the start time being one hour later than it is on weekdays. Only routes 1 through 5 would be available.

Mitchell doesn’t expect a great need for rides to medical appointments on Saturdays, since most doctors’ offices would be closed.

“There were several people I talked to who were just getting to Burger King or just somewhere where the job is,” Councilwoman Charlotte Moses told Mitchell. “This is going to be a help to the community. Thank you for evaluating, seeing what other cities are doing and coming in line with those cities and at least trying. People are walking because there isn’t weekend service.”

PAT plans to measure the frequency of Saturday service by the week.

“I think this is a great opportunity to serve the citizens and see how it goes,” Mitchell said. “If it doesn’t pan out, the buses are empty and we’re not seeing usage, we can always pull back.”

For more on Saturday service and daily rates, call PAT at 409-983-8767. One-way, day, weekly and monthly rates are available.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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