OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

One of the toughest challenges an adult faces is realizing they shouldn’t drive anymore, especially someone as independent and successful as Guy. A Korean War Veteran, Guy has seen and done a lot in his life. He fondly remembers being stationed in Alaska for nearly two years.

“It was so incredibly beautiful,” he said. “I loved my time there.” When he left the military and came home, he worked at Brown & Williamson, a tobacco company headquartered in Louisville, for 15 years. “I loved that job so much,” said Guy. “I would’ve done it forever if I could.”

After that he spent a few years farming before eventually retiring. Fourteen years ago Guy knew it was time for him to give up his truck keys. The then-70-year-old had a near accident with a child pedestrian in a grocery store parking lot. It frightened him so badly that he didn’t want to drive anymore. But Guy was active and needed a way to get to various medical appointments, attend community events, and run important errands.

He immediately found Foothills Express and has been a regular rider since. He uses the Berea Bus Service and the Madison County Connector Route, but what really helps Guy is the service he is able to utilize to get to the Lexington VA Medical Center. The agency’s transportation program, Foothills Express, gives riders the opportunity to live independently and participate fully in their communities. Foothills’ transportation program operates a variety of services in Madison County including the Berea Bus Service. The service, a partnership between Foothills and the City of Berea, is a deviated fixed route that runs Monday through Friday from 8 am-5 pm, and bus fare is $1 per day. Stops include stores, apartment communities, city and county offices, and businesses. Wheelchair assisted door-to-door service is available for no additional cost and bulk passes are available at a discounted rate.

Foothills offers similar services in Richmond and Winchester. The Madison Connector Route, representing a partnership with the Madison County Fiscal Court, operates through the week and links the cities of Berea and Richmond (whose transit service represents a partnership with the City of Richmond). After reaching their destinations in either Berea or Richmond, riders are able to catch a ride on the City Transit Routes. Foothills Express also provides a Commuter Service from Winchester and Richmond to different locations in the Lexington area to assist employees in getting to their workplaces.

In addition, Foothills provides all of Eastern Kentucky University’s Shuttle Services. For many people like Guy, Foothills Express is their only means of transportation. Since giving up his keys, Guy says he figures he came out ahead. He no longer has to maintain his car or carry insurance. And he gets door-to-door rides that he books in advance.

“It’s cheaper and more fun than a taxi service,” he said. Guy sees many of the same people every day and has developed a rapport with them. “You get to know them, and they get to know you,” he said.

He likes the friendliness of the drivers and feels safe traveling in the area. Now that he’s an old hand at public transit, he puts that experience to work helping new friends and neighbors by assisting them with bus route information.

“This is a great service,” said Guy. “I don’t know what I would have ever done without them.”

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