ClasTran seeks local funds: Shuttle may stop trips to 12 county municipalities

ClasTran, a United Way-sponsored shuttle service to and from Shelby, Jefferson and surrounding counties, is seeking local support to keep its buses running.

ClasTran representative Ron Tanner was at a recent Montevallo city council meeting asking for financial help from Montevallo and the other 11 cities ClasTran serves in Shelby County.

&8220;It is a necessary and vital service,&8221; Tanner said.

Tanner presented statistics showing how needed the buses are in Shelby County, particularly for the elderly and the disabled and explained how much each trip costs the non-profit organization.

ClasTran service to the city of Montevallo cost the non-profit organization $55,820 in 2006, The organization is requesting roughly one-quarter of that, $11,164, to be set aside for it in next year&8217;s city budget.

Richard Helfrick, 62, has driven a ClasTran bus since retiring from the steel business a year ago. He has driven all of the Shelby County routes and says the need for ClasTran&8217;s services daily.

&8220;There are so many people,&8221; Helfrick said. &8220;They live so far away from doctors, and there&8217;s no transit system. People have no way of getting there.&8221;

Terry Christian, 21, works at Winn-Dixie in Chelsea and said he relies on ClasTran to get to work.

&8220;I can&8217;t drive, so I have to have someone take me,&8221; Christian said.

He said he pays $8 for the service to take him to and from work three times a week, and he thinks the cities should support ClasTran.

&8220;ClasTran serves the community very well,&8221; Montevallo Mayor Sharon Anderson said, &8220;But as far as how they will fit in our budget, I&8217;m not sure yet.&8221;

Anderson said a budget decision would be made in September