Northampton explores options

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

JACKSON — Northampton County officials are looking further into public transportation.

At a recent Northampton County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Virginia Spruill asked County Manager Wayne Jenkins about researching a public transportation project for the county.

In June, the commissioners had a lengthy discussion about the Choanoke Public Transportation Authority (CPTA) after contracted per unit rates increased from $8.44 to $8.69 for transportation for senior citizens to congregate meals at the J.W. Fasion Senior Center. CPTA is also used by Office on Aging for medical appointments.

Spruill asked Jenkins to explore possible sources of funding. She added she is aware a transportation project would be long range in nature, but thought it worthwhile to explore the possibility in order to address the lack of adequate general transportation in the county.

Spruill also mentioned the possibility of expanding on CPTA in order to provide for those general services.

Jenkins said he has been contacted by a transportation company in Seaboard about possibly providing transportation for seniors.

He also noted he did meet with CPTA officials, as directed by the commissioners, about the rate which has escalated over the last four years.

Jenkins said the officials were receptive to lowering rates, but were unable to do so this year.

He said he would study the issue further.

According to CPTA Director Pamela Perry, a unit is defined as a one-way trip, from point A to B. A round trip (from point A to B and back to A) would cost $17.38 under the contracted rate. Perry said there is a general public rate as well ($4 per unit). The public rate is subsidized through the state, which is why it is a lower cost.

“I’m hoping to lower our rates,” Perry said.

She added it would not happen this fiscal year. Perry cited the gas prices last year for the current rates, which she said really crunched CPTA’s budget.