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December 18, 2008 3:52 am

Public transportation important in rural area

Written by Tribune Staff

In a state with more cattle than people, public transportation may not seem like a major priority. The Cowboy State and rural Big Horn Basin certainly don't have any major metropolitan areas that would make a transit system justifiable.

As a result, Wyoming's wide-open spaces make driving necessary.

Yet, for a small population, driving is not an option. Whether it's for health reasons, age, disabilities, intoxication or lack of access to a vehicle, some Powellites are unable to drive.

The Powell Senior Center faithfully transports people over the age of 60 around Powell on weekdays, taking them to appointments and grocery shopping. Others in the city, who are under the age of 60 or who need rides on nights or weekends, have limited options when it comes to local transportation.
International students at Northwest College, who may be unable to obtain driver's licenses, often are in need of a lift.

Local residents who need a safe ride home after a night of drinking also would benefit from public transport. Not having a designated driver after a night at the bar often results in drunk driving.

The local government is taking steps to address Powell's lack of local transportation and recently showed its support for two public transportation services.

On Monday, the Powell City Council unanimously approved an application for a local taxicab service, which will be available 24 hours a day. Last month, the council pledged $1,000 to support a bus service that operates in the Big Horn Basin.

Some citizens of Powell never will have to worry about needing public transportation, but for those who do, the council's support of these services is a step in the right direction.