Troubles at TAPS

By: Mystic Matthews Email
By: Mystic Matthews Email

SHERMAN, Tex. -- Thousands of people in Texoma ride the local transit system known as ‘TAPS’. Now, financial problems could mean the system’s days are numbered.

Even though more than 360,000 people ride Texoma Area Paratransit System buses, officials say that's still not enough to keep the non-profit transportation system afloat.

TAPS director Freddy Lessly says the system is having cash-flow problems but wouldn't say whether TAPS will shut down. Lessly refused to say more until he meets with the board of directors.

TAPS covers six counties and transports people as far away as Dallas.

The system has been around for 20 years, and countless people have come to depend on it.

"When you have people that need to get out of the house and have interaction with others, it’s most definitely a blessing and a very great blessing indeed," Denison SNAPS Center volunteer Bill Smith says of TAPS.

Even though TAPS receives grants from the state and federal level, Lessly says they still have operating costs they must cover.

Last year taps buses made nearly 180,000 trips in Grayson County alone. That's half of the total number of runs in its service area.


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  • by Michaele Location: Grayson County on Nov 8, 2007 at 01:07 PM
    Kelly from Howe you can donate to TAPS, they are a 501(c)(3) organization, all donations are tax deductible. Contact Fred Lessly the Executive Director 893-4601 Ext.103. He is asking local business for donations. Kaye from Whitewright, you say you work for TAPS. I think your words would serve TAPS better if someone asks you. Why don't you speak to the media? We all would like to hear from someone not just what the reporters have to say.
  • by Kelly Location: Howe on Nov 6, 2007 at 05:02 PM
    Hey channel 12, why haven't you done a follow up to this? From all the comments it seems like people are interested enough in it. Why haven't you set up a way for us to donate? We help people all over the world don't you think we want to help our own community? I for one could use a tax break here at the end of the year. If all of us gave just a little it could add up to a lot and save lots of peoples rides. So get us some more info on where we can donate and let's save this place and all the people that desperately need their rides cause you never know when you'll be the one needing the ride and won't have any other way to get it!
  • by Kathy Location: Denison on Nov 6, 2007 at 04:46 PM
    Hey Mr TI Rider, who won't even give his name, if it is so miserable for you why are you riding? You have a car at home why don't you drive it? Is it the high price of fuel or the wear and tear on your car? Are you too cheap to drive your own car? IF a condom was on a bus did you report it? If u did I find it hard to believe it wasn't cleaned up. From what I've heard, Taps is PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION what part of that do you not understand?
  • by TI Rider Location: Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 10:32 AM
    I have rode TAPS for many years, to TI-Dallas and back home. The buses has NO air in the summer, and very cold in the winter. When suggestions were made, on how to save money, to management it fell on flat. The response is that is what is posted, and we are not changing anything." They did not care about the riders or their comforts. The buses were not cleaned, a used condom were in the floor for over a month! When they were repaired, the soon broked down again. TAPS did not want to hear from the riders nor their comments with our concerns, were dismissed. If only they would have cut out a stop where no one rode from nor were picked up from, it would have saved some gas, but it was a posted stop and they were not going to do away with the stop. Our bus wasted 20 minutes morning and afternoon letting the ghosts get on the bus.
  • by KAYE Location: WHITEWRIGHT on Nov 6, 2007 at 08:01 AM
    JIM, IN RESPONSE TO YOUR COMMENTS. WE CANNOT USE A MINIVAN IN MOST CASES, BECAUSE WE MAY HAVE ONE TRIP ONE MINUTE AND IN THE NEXT FIVE OR SIX PASSENGERS PLUS ONE SOMETIMES WHEELCHAIRS. IT WOULD BE VERY INCONVENIENT AND TIME COSTLY FOR THE DRIVER AND THE PASSENGERS TO USE THE MINIVANS, THEY WOULD HAVE TO COME BACK IN TO THE OFFICE AND CHANGE BUSES. AT THAT POINT NO ONE WOULD GET TO THEIR APPOINTMENTS ON TIME. NO ONE WOULD GET TO THEIR APPOINTMENTS ON TIME.
  • by KAYE Location: WHITEWRIGHT on Nov 6, 2007 at 07:46 AM
    LISA, TAPS HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR 20 YRS. THEY HAVE A RELATIVELY LOW ACCIDENT RATE, AND AS FAR AS I KNOW, {I HAVE BEEN HERE 25 YRS, EVEN BEFORE IT BECAME TAPS}, MAYBE 2 OR 3 TRAFFIC TICKETS. AS FAR AS OUR PASSENGERS WAITING, CAN THE OFFICES TELL US EXACTLY WHAT TIME OUR CLIENTS WILL BE FINISHED WITH THEIR APPOINTMENTS, I DOUBT IT. OFTEN WE ARE THERE AND OUR CLIENTS ARE NOT READY. WE HAVE MANY OTHER CLIENTS WAITING OTHER PLACES, THIS IS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, THIS IS HOW IT WORKS. IM SORRY FOR THE WAIT, WE ARE NOT INSENSITIVE TO THIS , THERE IS JUST NOT MUCH WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. WE ARE ONLY FUNDED SO MUCH MONEY TO DO WHAT WE DO. AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT THINK WE DO IT WELL. IVE NOTICED THAT THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ARE FROM PEOPLE THAT DO NOT HAVE TO DEPEND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. WE CANNOT PLEASE ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, BUT WE DO PLEASE MOST OF THE PEOPLE MOST OF THE TIME. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE YOUR INDEPENDENCE FOR GRANTED,WE ARE THESE PEOPLES INDEPENDENCE.
  • by Raytheon Rider Location: TI Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 06:54 AM
    I have been riding the TAPS bus to Raytheon-McKinney for almost 5 yrs now. In that time, it's had it's ups and downs, but it has saved me both gas $ and mileage on my car, not to speak of the peace of mind not driving on Hwy 75. The Sherman bus pick up for McKinney originated at the TI plant parking lot and some people would like to see that stop eliminated. For the 6 that park/ride from there (almost everyday), it will be just as inconvenient for us to drive to Office Depot to catch the shuttle as it is for you to ride into TI to pick up or drop us off. Everyone is going to be inconvenienced in some way, when you are on a stop-n-go schedule. You can't look at this from "me" point of view, but at the whole "us" picture. Yes, if any want to continue to ride, some concessions will have to be made, that's a given and we've done it before. Just remember, your stop could be cut out next.
  • by Jim Location: Sherman on Nov 6, 2007 at 05:06 AM
    If Taps were run more efficiently it might survive for example sending a large buss to pick one person when a minivan would do it on less fuel and less cost,DUH. Also the complete lack of sensitivey to needs turn people off, example there is a loaded bus that goes south each day and has so for years. Some one up there has chosen to elimate this stop and move it south putting it out of reach for some of the riders. This route was the most efficient route in the system but?????
  • by MIchelle Location: sherman on Nov 5, 2007 at 07:29 PM
    I have already posted once , but to the big-"STUPID" 400 hundred lb gorrilla(name that was used), You are obviously intitled to your opinion, but seriously my child has road TAPPS for 3 years now, do you think that the dart or any of that is going to start going from school to school? I already pay 30.00 a month for the ride. I dont even want to see the price of something else. If you think this is a waste of tax-payers money then how about SISD's school buses? Maybe you should rally for them to have more stops for the kids. Until then I along with many other parents must rely on TAPPS. Not to mention that Girls Inc relies on them for every field trip they take. How else are they going to get that many girls around? I dont think you can afford that many buses and all that gas? Can you?
  • by Cynthia Location: Sherman on Nov 5, 2007 at 04:32 PM
    I work in retail and have for almost 20 years. TAPS drops off customers to several retail locations in the city of Sherman daily. That means tax dollars for our city and others as well. Not only that there are many people who rely on TAPS to get to work. If they lose their ride then what? They will probably end up drawing welfare or worse. Many of our children use TAPS to get from school to a safe place. Would we rather they walk? What about the elderly with no family. If they can't get transportation to Doctor appointments and the grocery store they are sunk. I agree with Casi, expand it and make it work. It is much too valuable to lose. The financial help has to be out there. We just need to find it! If DART works TAPS can too!
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