High gas prices impacting OATS Transit services

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:09 AM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2022 at 9:01 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - OATS Transit provides transportation for thousands of Missourians, including senior citizens and people with disabilities.

With gas prices on the rise, the company is looking at ways to continue providing rides while dealing with the gas crisis. Gas prices hit $4 per gallon, making it more difficult to get from point A to point B. OATS transportation services are working to ensure they provide customers with the help they need. The cost of gas is one of the biggest strains on the organization’s budget, leading to more costly expenses.

“Price of fuel continues to rise over a longer period. It also impacts everything else, such as maintenance costs,” said Regional Director Jeff Robinson. “At the moment, our biggest cost outside of employee pay is the cost of fuel, and then, of course, the next is the cost of maintenance.”

The company has 135 buses, and local support keeps the wheels turning. One of the ways OATS is trying to reduce costs is by increasing the number of riders being dropped off at the same location.

“Our customers are accustomed to how we do service and have been with us for years,” said Robinson. “A lot of times, customers will get involved, and they will actually within their own communities try to put more people on the bus. Try to keep the wheels rolling before we have to reduce service.”

Regional Director Jeff Robinson says the company has 135 buses and local support is what is keeping the wheels turning. There are also some cost-saving measures where the company can get fuel at a reduced cost. Local tax boards and federal funds are helping the organization serve its customers.

“We use local funds and a lot of federal funds,” said Robinson. “We’re not for profit agency, and we would be remiss if we just accepted the gas prices as they are at the pump. So we’re always looking for ways to reduce our cost of fuel. So we do have some cost savings measures in place.”

Robinson says that any service changes made will have minimal impact on the customer. No schedule changes or service reductions have been made in the southwest Missouri region.

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