MTA starts new medical office route in Flint

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FLINT (WJRT) - (04/11/16) - A new bus service called “Ride to Wellness” has started in Flint to help people get to medical appointments. It's an experiment right now, but could become a full-time program if enough people show interest.

The MTA has often heard from customers that it can be hard for them to get to doctor appointments. So the agency is offering a new bus route.

From the downtown Flint bus station, MTA will take you to the Hurley Medical Center Eastside Campus on Longway and then on to five other medical offices, including Hurley Medical Center and the Hurley Children's Center at the Flint Farmers’ Market.

"It's an answer to many requests received from parents, families with young children," said Ed Benning, the MTA director.

The buses are smaller, only 30 feet long. They swing by the medical offices about every 30 minutes. The MTA will measure the success of the route during the next 90 days.

"We're going to give it a go and see how well it works. We think it's going to have a great response," Benning said.

Specialized routes are not new to the MTA. Last spring, it started “Ride to Groceries”, which stops at three supermarkets on the east side of Flint.

"It's up around 1,000 passengers a month now and growing. We're hoping to expand that program throughout the community and so we've ordered nine new mini buses," Benning said.

The MTA recently started a run to Eaton County, where Meijer has a distribution center. A number of people from the Flint area with disabilities ride the bus to get to work.

"They're going to hire 150 individuals. The first 20 are in place and the numbers are growing on a daily basis," Benning said.

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