Transit openness

When the Cape Girardeau County Transit Authority began operations 18 months ago, there were a number of unknowns: Would the transit authority's takeover of Cape Girardeau's taxi service cut down on complaints? Would the new bus service fulfill the needs of those who need public transportation? Would the transit authority ever be able to better coordinate the dozens of transportation options and hundreds of thousands of tax dollars spent on those services?

It's still too early to give final answers to all the questions, but, to its credit, the transit authority appears to be meeting many of the needs of those who require rides to grocery stores, shops and medical facilities. That's not to say there aren't some complaints, but it's hard to imagine a public transportation service that completely meets everyone's expectations.

To better serve those riders, the transit authority has announced expanded routes and free rides on Saturdays, both of which should come as welcome improvements.

At a recent meeting of the transit authority board, chairman Doug Richards reiterated the goal of being as open and aboveboard as possible in the agency's dealings with the public. In an interview with the Southeast Missourian prior to the meeting, Richards said the transit authority has experienced growing pains along with issues that would be expected to befall any new enterprise. Among those are business practices that need to be more formal than handshake deals.

The pledge of openness in the transit authority's dealings is to be applauded. Public transportation is an important issue, one that has been identified for several years as a major community concern. Keeping the public fully informed will go a long way in helping resolve problems.