Public Transit Week

Avera Public Transportation Employees (l-r): Phil Butterfield, Bonnie Turpin and Darrell Hamilton are pictured with O’Neill Mayor Scott Menish as he signs a proclamation for Nebraska Public Transit Week.

O’NEILL – To raise public awareness of this vital community service, Avera Public Transportation will be observing Nebraska Public Transit Week April 11-17.

Activities planned for the week are:

• Monday – School children riding the bus will receive coloring and crossword activities;

• Tuesday – New passengers ride in town for free;

• Wednesday – Driver appreciation day;

• Thursday – Veterans ride in town for free; and

• Friday – A second day of new passengers riding in town for free.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic decreasing the need for residents to travel in 2020, Avera Public Transportation provided 570 out-of-town trips, and 6,877 in-town trips – for a total of 70,966 miles. Public transit trips in rural areas (i.e. populations of less than 50,000) accounted for nearly 52 percent of total miles traveled in Nebraska using public transit in 2020.

Avera Public Transportation was established in September of 2020, and is funded through the Nebraska Department of Transportation, Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital and fares collected from riders.

The on-demand service provides rides in O’Neill and surrounding communities including, but not limited to, Emmet, Atkinson, Stuart, Newport, Amelia, Chambers, Inman, Orchard, Ewing, Lynch, Bristow, Spencer and Butte. Avera Public Transportation provides service in Holt, Boyd, Rock, Brown, Keya Paha, Antelope and Knox counties – and may offer extended service to other areas based upon demand and availability of vehicles and or/drivers.

Avera Public Transportation contracts with Nebraska Medicaid to provide rides for approved non-emergency medical appointments. Drivers take patients to Norfolk, Yankton, Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, Sioux Falls and Sioux City. Medicaid members need to contact their insurance providers for more information on how to request rides.

Avera Public Transportation operates Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. One-way trips are available for $1.00 inside O’Neill city limits, and $0.50 per mile for trips outside of O’Neill. We offer riders a safe and comfortable vehicle, meaning no worries about climbing into a hot car during the summer or scraping off snow and ice in the winter while waiting for the engine to warm up.

When booking a ride, passengers arrange a pick-up and drop-off location. While many people use Avera Public Transportation for medical appointments, transit service is also available for trips to the grocery store, bank, commuting to work or getting children to school. The service is also used for leisure activities like visiting friends, hair appointments, going out to eat, and traveling to and from airports in Omaha, Lincoln, Sioux Falls and Sioux City.

To schedule a ride or for more information, please contact Bonnie at (402) 336-5134, or Rojene at 402-336-5176. Avera Public Transportation’s friendly drivers are here to help get you safely to your destination.

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