As the economy declines and travel costs climb, use of alternate transportation services such as OATS have been increasing.
Central Missourians needing a ride to a medical appointment or to go shopping have an option available to them at a modest cost. It's called the OATS bus that makes regular but infrequent trips throughout the 15-county region of Central Missouri.
The service is available to anyone without regard to income or financial resources.
"As gas prices rise, so does use of the OATS bus service. Our usage has increased in the last year from 10 to 12 percent across the Central Missouri region," said Jack Heusted, who supervises OATS services in Mid-Missouri.
OATS was started 40 years ago as a service only to older adults. But today it is open to anyone who needs the service. The OATS name originally was an abbreviation for the Older Adults Transportation Service. But now it is known simply as OATS because its services are provided to anyone without regard to age or disability.