ETCOG Provides Transportation

Written by Teresa Dennard.

New GOBUS for seniors, handicapped

shena waltonHave you ever needed to be somewhere, but just didn’t have a way to get there? The GOBUS can help.  Provided by the East Texas Council of Governments, the GOBUS provides transportation in rural areas 5 days a week for anyone in need. All you have to do is call and make an appointment. 

Primarily for senior citizens who no longer drive, the service is provided to anyone who resides in one of the fourteen counties throughout East Texas. Citizens over sixty are able to ride free of charge while other residents are charged $2.00 for a one-way trip within Panola County ($4 round trip) and $5 for a one-way trip out of county to Longview, Marshall or Tyler ($10 round trip).  Hours of operation are 6:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Appointments for the GOBUS should be scheduled before 2:00 pm, the day prior to the requested service. Trips may be scheduled up to two weeks in advance. Vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts.

ETCOG’s rural transportation system makes 600-700 trips a day throughout fourteen counties in East Texas. Formerly known as the Rural TransiGOBUSt District, ETCOG wanted to create a more “recognizable” brand, thus the creation of the GOBUS. The new GOBUS is painted in the eye catching purple and green color which will help citizens to easily recognize the bus when on the road. Currently, one bus carries the new design and the remaining 40 will be completed this summer. Transportation Director, John Hedrick, says, “We provide service from curb to curb, and we invite the citizens of Panola County to 'Get on the Go with GOBUS.'"

Panola County driver Shena Walton has been driving for ETCOG for 4½ years and she loves it. “I take my job to heart, and I care about my riders. It’s very rewarding for me to be able to help these folks that don’t have transportation. I take them to their doctor's appointments, to buy groceries, to the bank and even to the beauty shop. I once had a rider whose car was in the shop for repairs for two weeks and I took him to work every day. I try to make the trips exciting and help my riders in any way I can. One rider told  her that if it weren't for the GOBUS, she just wouldn't know what to  do. It’s a ministry for me.”