Greenway Public Transportation offering free rides to voting polls during local elections

Staff Writer

Aaron Kohrs, mobility manager/specialist for the Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority, is excited to tell everyone about free transportation to the voting polls on October 16 and November 5.

Transportation to and from polls extends to Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, and Alexander Counties.

Voters will be transported to early voting sites depending on their county. For Catawba County, voters will go to either the Highland Recreation Center or Catawba County Main Library in Newton. For Caldwell County, voters will go to either the Caldwell Resource Center or the Shuford Recreation Center. For Burke County, voters will go to the Morganton Senior Center, Rutherford College Town Hall, Burke County Board of Elections, and the Hildebran Library. Those voting in Alexander County will go to the Alexander County Board of Elections.

The reason for the rides is to ensure that all citizens are able to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Those eligible will be allowed to take a free ride to their voting poll and back during the 2019 elections on a first come, first serve basis. The offer for the free transportation ends on Friday, November 1.

Lori Kuykendall, has worked for Greenway Public Transportation as a reservationist for five years now. She says she gets around 100 calls a day to request rides.

“It's primarily elderly or low-income that request services,” she said. “Some can't drive due to disabilities,”

Typically, a ride is five dollars for either curb to curb service in a van or for the bus route. Riders have to have the correct change which is placed in a drop box.

Rides can be requested from one year in advance up to 12 p.m. the day before.

“People think that they can call in the last minute or the same day, but they must schedule a ride at least one day in advance,” Kuykendall said.

She says that they try to help everyone as best as they can, even offering assistance to and from their doorway.

Kuykendall said that the voting transportation is catching on.

“It gets a little busier every year,” she said. “We've received a lot more requests.”

Voting is just one of the free transportation programs that the Western Piedmont Regional Authority offers. Kuykendall says in the past that they've transported people to Oktoberfest and to apple festivals.

The Greenway Public Transportation system welcomes everyone to call, ask questions, and request transportation so they can vote.

For more information, contact Aaron Kohrs at 828-465-7640