ClasTran seeks local funds

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 16, 2007

By Perry Smith / Staff Writer

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.

“It is a necessary and vital service,” 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’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’s services daily.

“There are so many people,” Helfrick said. “They live so far away from doctors, and there’s no transit system. People have no way of getting there.”

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

“I can’t drive, so I have to have someone take me,” 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.

“ClasTran serves the community very well,” Montevallo Mayor Sharon Anderson said, “But as far as how they will fit in our budget, I’m not sure yet.”

Anderson said a budget decision would be made in September