When voters approved a millage proposal earlier this year for the Mecosta Osceola Transit Authority it wasn't known how valuable that would be for older residents and those in need of transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"While some other transits closed their doors because of the pandemic, MOTA continued with reduced service in compliance with the governor's directives," Executive Director Mike Tillman said.
But then as travel restrictions were eased, MOTA began expanding its service from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to 8 p.m. during the week. MOTA also started eight hours of service on Saturday.
Tillman said the need was there for additional services for its residents in need
"MOTA offered free porch delivery of both groceries and prescriptions; MOTA continues this service to this day. This service helps to ensure safety for our citizens. "MOTA also provided necessary transportation for essential medical services such as chemo therapy, dialysis, and even medically necessary rehabilitation."
Tillman added hours of operation were extended weekdays were extended to 10 p.m. back in October, with its Sunday service extended to its first-ever full eight hours of availability.
MOTA was also able to acquire three new buses that were both more fuel efficient and size appropriate for their new demand response service. In addition to expanding their hours, MOTA began offering two new route service in Osceola and Mecosta counties that started in November.
Even though there were some challenges in 2020 Tillman is hopeful 2021 will be a great year for Mecosta and Osceola Counties and his organization.