Going Home Ministries - Rides to Church for the Transportation Challenged

Going Home Ministries - Rides to Church for the Transportation Challenged

From Tom King

We are looking to create a transportation resource to see that no one who wants to go to church has to miss services because they can't get there. Churches that have tried bus ministries have found that the need is mo...

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When I was back in Texas, I did transportation advocacy for a time. One in five East Texans don't have reliable access to transportation. I helped lead an effort to improve funding for our region's rural transit system. I was appointed to the Department of Transportation's Public Transportation Advisory Committee by the Governor that rewrote the funding formula. I testified before the legislature's transportation committee and led a bipartisan coalition to make the funding formula for transit fair.When my wife and I moved to the Pacific Northwest, we inadvertently lost our own transportation. Suddenly, instead of being advocates for seniors, low income families and people with disabilities who need transportation, my wife and I became the people who use public transportation. I learned all sorts of thing about public transit from the consumer side. With no transportation of your own to fall back on, you learn fast.

I used to hear folks, especially seniors, at our public comment meetings, complain because they could go everywhere, to doctors, to appointments with social services, and to shopping and even recreation, but there was nothing that runs to church services, which for many had been the most important thing in their lives. The transit services were either too expensive or not running during these times. Many providers claimed there was just no need for it. After losing our own transportation, my wife and I soon found ourselves unable to attend church. The bus routes don't serve the areas around most churches as they tend to be built on less commercial property and off the main bus lines. Paratransit services either don't run to our churches or simply shut down at church times. As the baby boomer population retires, it's only going to become more of a challenge for churches to retain their older members as they lose our ability to drive or even to afford to drive. And boomers have more savings, they bring their grandkids with them, they nag their children about coming to church. Because we are bleeding members from our congregations, in part, because of lack of a car, busy schedules, illness and loss of driving skills.

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