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CPTA celebrates 30 years

RICH SQUARE – Think of how much you depend on your vehicle to get to your destinations each day.

Now think of not having that vehicle.

You wouldn’t be able to get to work, shop for groceries nor make that doctor’s appointment you scheduled weeks in advance. Problems would abound.

For decades, the Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA) has provided transportation to those without the means.

Last week, the agency celebrated a 30-year milestone by inviting the public to tour their building located on Main Street in Rich Square, learn a little bit more about their services and enjoy refreshments.

“It’s a valuable source to many of the transit dependant population of the four county area,” said CPTA’s Executive Director Pamela Perry.

Perry said over its 30 year history with Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Halifax counties, CPTA has transported more than four million passengers.

A wall in the board room of the CPTA headquarters shows a successful history as numerous plaques, accreditations and photos are displayed.

CPTA was first organized on November 7, 1977 by a joint resolution between Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Halifax counties, making it the first rural transportation authority in the state.

The next year, grant funding from Urban Mass Transit Administration was applied for and was received in 1979. At this time, CPTA operated under the support of the Choanoke Area Development Association or CADA. James T. Barnett, the former director of CADA, is credited as being the guiding force behind the creation of CPTA. Barnett was instrumental in getting legislation passed allowing counties and multi-counties to operate rural transit authorities.

In 1983, the CPTA Board of Directors decided to cancel the agreement with CADA and operate the transit system as a public agency. The system is now funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Public Transportation Division and is a member of the North Carolina Public Transportation Association, Inc.

From its humble beginnings, CPTA began its operation with only nine buses. That small fleet now has grown to 60 vehicles serving anyone who needs a ride.

The newest addition to that fleet was on display during the anniversary reception. CPTA just added the first 28-foot bus to service the area.

The agency provides transportation to anyone and has extended their services to accommodate children attending Head Start and students attending local community colleges.

Many of those who have seen CPTA grow from its infancy said there have been ups and downs, but in the end the service to people has been priceless.

“It’s an exciting day,” said Board of Directors Chairman Morris Rascoe about the milestone. “(CPTA) has come a long way. There have been a lot of challenges to get to this point. It’s worth every bit of it.”

Morris said the board of directors would continue to work to expand CPTA’s services.

Former CPTA Executive Director Wendell Edwards came by to celebrate the organization’s anniversary. Edwards retired last March after 24 years with the agency.

“Thirty years ago I had no idea (CPTA) would provide service this long,” he said. “I hope it will continue to service the community another 30 years.”

Perry credits her staff of 42 employees for the success of CPTA. It’s relevant in her TEAM motto: “Together Everyone Accomplishes More.”

“Having a good team means a lot,” she said. “We consider ourselves one big family.”

CPTA provides out of county medical trips on different days of the week and month if requested. Daily transportation is Monday through Friday. The general public can reserve their seats. Reservations are taken until 10 a.m. the day before transportation is needed.

For more information about CPTA, to find out current fees or to make a reservation, call (252) 539-2022.