The buses are coming soon — that was the message at Monday’s public transportation meeting in Anna hosted by Texoma Area Paratransit System (TAPS) representatives.
TAPS, headquartered in Sherman, in an agreement with Collin County effective July 1, is operating the public transportation system for Collin County’s rural areas as well as the City of McKinney intercity bus system. TAPS took over this service, previously provided by Colin County Area Regional Transit(CCART) after its service declined and it was no longer financially viable.
The meeting, attended by Anna, Melissa Blue Ridge and Weston residents, was an overview of TAPS services, what they have available now and what is coming soon. It was also an opportunity for questions and answer and "show and tell" of the system’s buses, which were parked in front of Anna City Hall. The meeting was moderated by TAPS Chief Operating Officer Tim Patton and assisted by Chief Financial Officer Teresa Foster and manager of Community Relations Barbara Reeves.
Patton explained that on July 1 TAPS opened its 102 car Park & Ride lot in McKinney at 1870 Gateway Boulevard off of Medical Center Drive. From there passengers can catch a bus and travel from McKinney to DART’s Parker Road Station and continue to various destinations in the Metroplex or take a shuttle to DFW Airport or Love Field.
Because TAPS is partially subsidized by federal and state transportation funds rates are extremely affordable. A round trip on a TAPS bus within the rider’s area can cost as little as $2, and for students, seniors or disabled that rate drops to $1.
While fixed routes are set in McKinney, at this time travel in Anna, Melissa or other rural Collin County areas is limited to designated Dial a Ride Service. Patton said that as a resident in the area you may schedule a ride to keep a medical appointment, go shopping, attend an event or for any other reason by calling 800-256-0911 before 3 p.m. the day before your trip and TAPS will pick you up, take you to your destination, then wait or return to pick you up again. Currently, this service is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"We are planning to start as soon as possible dedicated bus service from Anna to McKinney with two anticipated trips in the morning and two in the afternoon," said Patton.
The state of the art transit vehicles that will be used in Collin County include large intercity buses, mid-size feeder buses and three passenger vehicles.
"We are excited to provide our services to Collin County, and our goal is to make TAPS the largest small urban and rural provider in Texas," said Patton.