Net Trans to stop transportation services in urban areas beginning next month

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Beginning April 1, thousands of people in the Tri-Cities will lose their means of transportation.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation says Net Trans can no longer provide transportation in urbanized areas.

James Bodenheimer lives in Grey. He said he relies on Net Trans. “They’re my main source of transportation,” he said.

He’s relied on the service for three years to take him to appointments at the VA and to the senior center.

“I like to swim laps. I do that three times a week,” he explained.

But just last week, he received word he will no longer be able to use his source of transportation.

“They told me that on March the first that come April the first I would no longer be in their area for pickup,” he said.

TDOT conducted a compliance audit and determined that Net Trans gets funding for rural areas, but is providing transportation in urban areas.

Candace Gump, Director of Transportation for the First TN Human Resources Agency, said in less than a month that will stop.

“It will have an annual impact of approximately 39,000 trips based on historical data. And these are trips that are going to, a lot of them are seniors, employment, dialysis, cancer treatment. Vital services within the community,” Gump said.

The highlighted sections in these maps show what is considered urbanized areas, where customers will no longer be able to utilize Net Trans services.

“We can pick up in the rural area and take to the urbanized area and take them back home. But we can’t do urban to urban services,” Gump said.

She said Net Trans is hoping to partner with the transit agencies in Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City.

“We’re at the table and we’re willing to partner. We’ve been working with TDOT, with the MPOs and the transit agencies in the respective cities and so the goal is for everyone to continue to have service,” she explained.

This, so people like Bodenheimer can continue to get to the places they need to go.

“Without Net Trans I’m grounded. I mean I’m stuck here,” Bodenheimer said.

Net Trans said right now, the city of Bristol and the VA are in talks with them to workout a contract to try to continue service for their current riders.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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