Two towns considering para-public transportation

By Curtis Riggs | July 16, 2008

Survey of transportation needs set for November
CAREFREE – The need for public transportation was identified in the transportation plan submitted to the Carefree Town Council earlier this summer.

Cave Creek officials are also considering signing up with some kind of para-public transportation, such as what is offered by Dial-A-Ride in some areas of Maricopa County and the Foothills Caring Corps locally.

Both communities intend to survey citizens in November about what they would like to see as far as public transportation.

“Valley Metro has no plans for mass transit in the Foothills area, but they are willing to work with us,” Town Councilman David Schwan said.

Cave Creek Town Councilman Tom McGuire commented on the survey he and Schwan are working on, “I anticipate this will be a joint effort.”

The problem for elderly and disabled people in the community is Dial-A-Ride currently only comes as far north as Jomax Road. The estimated $38 cost for a one-way Dial-A-Ride trip is also cost prohibitive.

According to Cave Creek Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, the November survey will help both communities plan for the future concerning public or para transportation.

“We will learn more about the community’s needs,” Abujbarah said. “Dial-A-Ride will likely not be a solution because they are very expensive. We could then talk to Valley Metro or find a way to support a private organization.”

Both Schwan and Abujbarah suggest rising energy costs could necessitate a move toward more public transportation.

“Circumstances are changing. We are not sure of what is going to happen with the services,” Abujbarah said in reference to the $7,000 annual contribution Cave Creek makes to the Foothills Caring Corps and other public transportation dollars. Carefree also makes an annual contribution to the Foothills Caring Corps.

Foothills Caring Corps is often overwhelmed by requests for rides and loses many of its volunteer drivers every summer. The Caring Corps van is also not handicap accessible. Schwan said Valley Metro is considering selling a handicap accessible van to the Foothills Caring Corps.

The November survey will likely be enclosed in the water bills to both Carefree and Cave Creek residents.