“Anyone can ride”

Tracy Walkup, director of the 13-county OATS Midwest Region, wants more Benton County Midwest OATSresidents to know they can take advantage of the organization’s public transportation service.

Regardless of age, anyone with or without disability can schedule a ride on an OATS bus free of charge by calling 660-827-2611.

 We’re a Rural General Public Provider, Walkup said.

 OATS is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3)

Donations, however, are a welcome source of supplemental funding for OATS and tax deductible for donors. From July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 donations from riders in the 13 Midwest region counties totaled $41,112.38, some of it coming in a few pennies at a time.

More seats available

During the same fiscal year period, a total of 257 Benton County riders made 5,094 one-way trips that accounted for a total of 110,562 miles.

Many more of Benton County’s nearly 20,000 residents living predominantly in rural areas could benefit from the free transportation.

Walkup hopes word about the OATS bus service will spread wider so that more rural residents who need it will have help to “get to work, doctor appointments, essential shopping, and other places people need to go.”

Volunteer opportunities

One way individuals can advertise and expand the transportation service is to volunteer to be an OATS committee representative.

It is not mandatory for a volunteer to be a rider. Yet, volunteers who are riders can draw on insights from their personal experiences to explain, promote, and even suggest ways to improve the service.

Volunteers established the service in 1971, and volunteers are important to sustain it.

Committee volunteers do outreach through public speaking as well as one-on-one communication with people they know and meet in the course of their daily activities.

There is opportunity now to fill Benton County committee vacancies. Former volunteers resigned for health reasons, leaving a void in county representation. Anyone interested in serving may contact Tracy Walkup or go online.

Employment opportunities

Current driver positions are available, also in Benton County. Some of the benefits are:

  • $10.00/hour starting salary
  • Six months probationary period
  • Training and performance monitoring during probation
  • Optional deferred annuity plan (also during probation)

Some basic eligibility requirements are:

  • At least 25 years of age
  • Chauffeur’s License
  • Able to lift at least 50 pounds

For more information visit the website, or contact:

OATS Midwest Region

107 W. Pacific – Sedalia, MO 65301-3010

Phone: (660) 827-2611 – Or 1-800-276-6287

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