Transportation for Henderson County citizens who don’t have means of getting where they need to go is available through an East Texas Council of Government program.

ETCOG Director of Transportation John Hendrick told the Henderson County Commissoners Court Tuesday that the GOBUS system has given more than 159,000 rides in the 14 counties it serves, since it started rolling in 2007. In the past year, the ridership grew by 48,000.

Hedrick said the number of riders started early last year, after a series of public meetings were held to try to improve public transportation in the area.

To gain visibility, the transportation service’s plain-white buses were painted purple and green, and the slogan, “get on the go with GOBUS,” was originated. The new brand was introduced May 8, 2011 at the National Train Day celebration in Longview.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney agreed that the branding had made the GOBUS visible in the county.

Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said he had not been aware of seeing the public transportation buses prior to the new design, but has since seen the purple and green vehicles in Precinct 3.

According to a press release, ETCOG's rural transportation system makes 600-700 trips a day, five days a week, throughout the 14 counties of East Texas.

In addition to making trips within Henderson County, citizens needing to travel to Tyler can ride on Tuesdays.

You can schedule a trip by calling 1-800-590-3371. Riders must call before 2 p.m., the day prior to the requested service.

In other action, Commissioners:

• discussed upcoming appointments for the Henderson County Regional Fair Park Board;

•  discussed upcoming appointments for the East Texas Medical Center Hospital Authority Board;

•  discussed upcoming appointments for the East Texas Medical Center-Athens Board of Managers;

•  approved expending $94.12 from the Justice of the Peace Technology fund for the purchase of a label maker for Justice of the Peace No. 5;

• authorized payment of 2011 bills in the amount of $191,734.89; and

• authorized payment of 2012 bills in the amount of $36,736.06.

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