MAPS transportation set to end in Carl Junction

MAPS transportation set to end in Carl Junction
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MAPS transportation might stop services in Carl Junction, MO.

The Joplin-based curb-to-curb transportation service is seeking service agreements with surrounding towns, but failing to make head-way with CJ.

Some riders worry they’ll be left behind…

Ricky Sayles enjoys working at Joplin Workshops, a place that employs people with disabilities, but he’s worried he’ll soon be stranded.

“I might have to stay home or something, I don’t know,” said Sayles, who relies on MAPS to get to work from Carl Junction.

Sayles’ concern is well-founded, since the City of Carl Junction has yet to come to a service agreement with MAPS transportation.

“We have agreements in place with Carterville, Duenweg, and Oronogo right now. They reimburse us $3 per ride and that’s the same service agreement we’re trying to establish with Carl Junction,” said Robert Lawley, Transportation Coordinator for the City of Joplin.

MAPS uses the $3 to match federal funds to support the program, but the city doesn’t feel comfortable with the changes. In a statement, the city administrator stated:
“The program could cost the City of CJ starting at about $6,000 per year and with no cap, it only goes up from there. No Missouri municipality can expend public money without some type of agreement in place. So asking us to reimburse them without that agreement is highly irregular and contrary to general auditing standards.”

“Unless things in the final hour change, Carl Junction decides they can go ahead and go forward, then June 28th would be their last day of service,” said Lawley.

About 20 people use maps in CJ and while that number may seem small, it makes a big difference in the lives of the riders relying on it to get to medical appointments and work.

“So many people go to the doctor’s office and they don’t have like any family to take them to the doctor’s office,” said Sayles.

“We will have to try to come up with a way to get them back and forth to work so that they can continue to be employed,” said Tracy Tune, Operations Manager of Joplin Workshops Inc.

For Ricky and other Joplin Workshop employees counting on MAPS, an agreement needs to be made.

“The MAPS bus needs to talk about this, needs to handle their meeting and get this straight so they can get the bus running for Carl Junction,” said Sayles.

MAPS is currently under negotiations with Webb City to work out a similar service agreement.