Picayune to test drive public transportation

Published 10:03 pm Saturday, June 16, 2007

A pilot program will provide Picayune residents with a form of public transportation via scheduled pickups and set destinations.

The program should begin soon, tentatively within the next couple of weeks, and will be used to gather data to possibly form a long term transportation system, said City of Picayune Assistant Director of Grant Administration and Contracts in the Community Development Department Louise Cochran.

Initially the fee will be $5 for a round trip to set destinations, such as Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart, Fred’s and Claiborne Hill. The program is slated to operate three days a week, on Monday Wednesday and Friday in the city limits of Picayune.

Data collected during the pilot program will be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to apply for funding of a permanent transportation system, Cochran said. MDOT is also providing the funding for the pilot program.

DJ’s Shuttle Service out of Hattiesburg will provide the transportation. Pick up locations will be Beechwood Apartments, Rose of Sharon Church, Blue Spruce Apartments, The Pines Apartments, Picayune Apartments and South Side School. This system will provide a transportation system similar to a bus route, Cochran said. There will also be a route on Thursdays from High Hill Stables to Resurrection Life and Wal-Mart.

While DJ’s Shuttle service is currently operating in Picayune providing shuttle service they are not providing public transportation. City of Picayune Director of Public Relations Jon Myers said a shuttle service is used for long distances while public transportation is for short distances, such as inside the limits of Picayune. There is also a currently a transportation service for elderly citizens.

“But if you’re not elderly that’s where the problem comes in,” Cochran said.

The long term goal is to have a county wide transportation system if this program is successful, Cochran said. This will provide an avenue for residents of the county to have emergency transportation in case of another Hurricane Katrina level event, she said.

Residents in the area will be informed of the service via media outlets and flyers to be passed out in the neighborhoods. Times of pickups should be provided on the announcements, tentatively 9 a.m.

The service will be available for all adults and children under 12 years of age accompanied by an adult.