January 12, 2011

Website offers access to transportation information

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- With a click of the mouse, Southern Illinoisans can now explore their public mass transportation options to enable them to get to medical appointments, jobs, educational facilities and other places as needed around the region.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development has a new website giving all of the pertinent transportation information. Found online at www.sirides.com, the website is a Rural Medical Transportation Network project from the center. The site includes maps showing the coverage areas of the five mass transit districts in the region along with hours, contact information and other details.

“This is a one-stop site bringing together information about all of the transportation options in Southern Illinois,” said Dennis Presley, project coordinator for the Rural Medical Transportation Network.

Presley said many times people have non-emergency medical needs and getting the necessary treatment hinges on getting to the treatment site. The public transportation providers can make it happen affordably and the new website connects people to those opportunities, he said. The network also links people to transportation for other needs including jobs, school and more.

Included in the Rural Medical Transportation Network are the Central Illinois Public Transit (CIPT), Jackson County Mass Transit District (JCMTD), Rides Mass Transit (RMTD), Shawnee Mass Transit District (SMART) and South Central Illinois Mass Transit District (SCT). The coverage areas for each of the transit systems is as follows:

• CIPT -- Clay, Douglas, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie and Shelby counties.

• JCMTD -- Jackson County.

• RMTD -- Cumberland, Crawford, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Lawrence, Pope, Richland, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White and Williamson counties.

• SMART -- Alexander, Pulaski, Johnson, Massac and Union counties.

• SCT -- Clinton, Franklin, Jefferson, Marion, Perry and Washington counties.

You’ll find the telephone numbers, hours, links to the websites for each transit district and other information on the www.sirides.com website.

“With gas prices in the $3 a gallon range, people are having to make difficult budget decisions but the goal of the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development’s Rural Medical Transportation Network is to give Southern Illinoisans affordable access to medical service sites and other places they need to be and this umbrella website is the next step in providing that service,” Presley said.

For more information about the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development’s Rural Medical Transportation Network, contact Presley at 618/453-3314 or by email at dpresley@rural.siu.edu.