From: Kathryn Schultz

Winona

An article in the Post on August 4, 2021, indicated that a new bus schedule for the city of Winona was approved by the City Council. The changes will take effect on September 7, 2021. When taking the bus on August 7, I asked the driver if he had copies of the new schedule. He did not, so I checked on the city transit website. There was information on the new routes, but it did not indicate the times they run.

In the article, City Clerk Monica Hennessy Mohan stated that the approved routes have been altered so that passengers can reach their destination sooner, but would have to transfer to a different bus more often, to reach their destination. It confounds me that the new routes were approved when there had been a city outreach survey sent to residents in 2019 which revealed concerns that a schedule full of transfers would be harder for those with disabilities to board the buses multiple times.

Additionally, the new routes will no longer enter any parking lots, except medical facilities. Instead, drop-offs will occur at newly constructed hubs throughout the city.  An example is the one near Target and Walmart which runs along the side of the Walmart parking lot, which is quite a walk to either store. This would mean that people in wheelchairs and walkers will have to get to their destination on their own, no matter what the weather.

I use the bus regularly, as do many other elderly and persons of all abilities. This new schedule does not consider this population, but will significantly hinder their ability to maintain an independent lifestyle.

While there are programs that transport certain categories of individuals to and from their destinations, specific guidelines must be met to be eligible for them. Many who ride the buses do so because they do not qualify for those programs.

In concluding, I challenge anyone to get on the bus in a wheelchair or with a walker and take a ride on the bus. Then tell the city that more transfers are not better for the majority of the population that the buses serve.