INAUGURAL SUNNYSIDE BUS STOP

INAUGURAL SUNNYSIDE BUS STOP — People For People launches the new connector bus route #201 with a stop in the Sunnyside Safeway parking lot at 9:18 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

SUNNYSIDE — In a time where public resources seem to cost more and provide less, the lower valley has received a transportation gift. Bus riders in Sunnyside, Mabton and Grandview are the beneficiaries of an Oct. 1 new connector bus route, #201.

People For People’s transportation program leaders, following more than six months of research and outreach, has launched a local bus service which connects neighboring communities.

The Yakima based non-profit whose mission is to “improve lives and strengthen communities,” is doing just this with route #201. Since April this year, the non-profit’s planners for meeting transportation needs in the upper and lower valley has utilized a transportation planning grant and determined residents in the three mid and lower valley communities’ lives could be improved by an addition of public transportation.

Jan Olliver, the Director of Transportation, presented the new bus route’s final design to the Mabton city council on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

“We all know someone who has transportation needs,” noted Olliver, who spoke along with Gracie Sexton, Transportation Operations Manager and a former Mabton resident, about the process. The duo shared the good news of the launch of a no-cost continuous transportation route between the three communities.

The bus route, which initially will run Monday through Friday, picks up its first passengers of the day at Mabton’s Blue Sky Market at 8:31 a.m., and then makes 3 continuous loops with 13 stops through Grandview into Sunnyside and starts over. The bus’s last stop is at Blue Sky Market at 3:55 p.m. Other stops include Grandview Lucky-7 Market and the Community Center, heath care offices, the library and Wal-Mart in Sunnyside.

The 14-passenger van is wheelchair accessible; will accept no fare (at least initially) and is operating in a learning mode. People For People is requesting comments from riders and community members alike to learn if the route is meeting the needs of the ridership.

The new route, according to Sexton, is “A place to start somewhere.”

The transportation arm of People For People has been in place for 35 years, according to Olliver and Sexton, has transported the public more than 25 million miles and carried 1.5 million passengers.

Additional stops along the new route are available, upon request.

Sexton noted changes and adjustments to the bus’s schedule are expected as rider needs are refined.

For more information call 509-457-1111 or dial 2-1-1 to learn more.

Deb Brumley can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email DBrumley@sunnysidesun.com

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