With more than 170,000 rides given already this year, the Jackson Area Transportation Authority (JATA) isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “We are trending back to pre-pandemic levels having regained approximately 80 percent of riders,” said Patrick O’Dowd, JATA’s Government and Community Relations Manager.
Now that riders are back on buses, the transportation service is getting more information out in the community about their services. City of Jackson residents have a lot of bus options, with nine buses running fixed routes along major streets Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some routes go outside the City Limits, connecting riders to nearby shopping and education centers. For bus fares, senior citizens, children and people with disabilities can ride for $0.75, with students paying $1.00 and adults at $1.50. Monthly passes are also available. JATA goes beyond daily bus service by assisting residents with their individual needs. Reserve-A-Ride is a program where riders anywhere in Jackson County can get curb-to-curb service seven days a week by calling ahead with a reservation.
Wanting to make sure residents can get to medical appointments all over Jackson County, JATA offers Rides to Wellness. “It’s a convenient and dependable door-to-door medical transportation service for non-emergency healthcare appointments and other wellness activities,” O’Dowd said. More than 4,000 of these wellness rides have been completed so far this year. JATA is a non-profit organization that’s largely funded through federal, state and local resources. A millage in the City of Jackson generates $500,000 a year for JATA, keeping rides affordable and service expansive. “It’s important for Jackson residents to know that these services are made possible because of what they’re already contributing through tax dollars. The City of Jackson is the only local community that pays into the system, so that is why buses don’t service neighboring townships,” O’Dowd said.
JATA is seeing more riders choose public transportation over driving their own vehicles. “Using JATA for getting around town can often be more cost-effective than owning and maintaining a personal vehicle. When you factor in the positive environmental impacts and alleviating parking challenges, using public transportation can greatly impact you and the entire community,” O’Dowd said.
Visit mijata.org or download the JATA mobile app, RideJATA, to learn more about these services. Staff are ready to assist riders with questions at the Downtown Jackson Transfer Station at 127 W. Cortland St. or by calling 517-783-6437.