Photo by Julia Hart
The big white People for People Community Connector bus is helping to connect rural commuters with local cities for work, shopping and medical needs. It daily makes stops at locations from Wapato to Prosser.
As of Monday, February 5, 2018
SUNNYSIDE A lot of people don’t think there is public transportation in the Lower Yakima Valley.
While limited, it is available to everyone and there is a special schedule just for seniors and disabled persons, as well.
The service available links Yakima to Prosser, which in turn links commuters to the Yakima Transit System and the Benton-Franklin Transit System in the Tri-Cities.
It isn’t perfect, admit operators, but it does work.
The Yakima-Prosser Community Connectors roll through the valley on a Monday through Friday schedule, making stops from the transit center in Yakima to the bus station in Prosser.
“The best thing about riding the People for People commuter connector is that anyone can ride,” Transportations Operations Manager Gracie Sexton said.
The senior services are a joint project of the Washington Department of Transportation and Yakima County Long Term Aging and helps to provide rides for the disabled and senior individuals.
The senior riders must be 60 years or older or disabled, she said.
Sexton, who has been involved with public transportation more than 10 years, said the commuter buses make daily trips from Yakima to Prosser, with regular stops at designated locations along the way.
For example, the commuter has three bus stops in Sunnyside, operating Monday through Friday.
That gives commuters at 13 opportunities to catch the bus head east or headed west throughout the day, Sexton said.
The Connector doesn’t’ run, however, on federal holidays.
Locally, the bus stops are located at Neighborhood Health Services on Scoon Road, at the hospital, and at the Work Source office on Morgan Road.
“We have more routes listed at our website wwwpfp.org,” she said.
The bus stops are located at markets and agencies from Wapato to Grandview for pickups or drop offs.
“We do everything we can to meet the needs of our riders,” Sexton said.
The rides are free, but we do accept donations,” Sexton added.
She said People for People also operated buses designed for senior and disable riders, which is also used to help people get to meal sites, as well and medical appointments and shopping in neighboring town.
She said people with special mobility needs can call the services at 509-457-1111. Or visit the website for help.
“We try to fill transportation gaps as they arise,” she said.