Battle Creek's transit service offering fare-free rides to the polls on Election Day

Battle Creek Public Transit Service
Posted at 2:18 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 14:18:26-05

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — While million of Michiganders have already cast their votes, many are still planning to vote in-person and might need help getting to the polls.

Through a study, 60% of people who use Battle Creek's Public Transit Service are registered voters. In addition to mail-in and absentee ballots, the city wanted to ensure there were no obstacles for anyone wanting to vote on Election Day.

"This is the first time in a long time that we’ve done this. We wanted to make sure that everyone has the ability to have access to vote and that transportation wasn’t a barrier for somebody to cast their ballot," said the City of Battle Creek's Public Transit Director Mallory Avis.

The city of Battle Creek's Public Transit Director said they're offering free rides to the polls on Election Day through their public transit service.

"We have eight fixed routes that run throughout the city running on half-hour to hour frequencies. Our published list shows within a block or two of the polling location so anything that was more than a block or two, we recommend people use Tele-Transit," said Avis.

Tele-Transit Service is a door-to-door service and will pick people up at their location and take them straight to the polls if the fixed routes don't work for them.

"We are adding an extra route, so that people can use it specifically to get to the polls. We are not interfering with the people who have it scheduled for appointments or grocery shopping, instead we just have one dedicated solely to election," said Avis.

All trips on Tuesday are free thanks to a grant offered by the Center for Tech and Civic Life.

"We received about $1,300. Our average trips per day is about 1700 trips per day, and our average fare is roughly 80 cents. We figured that would offset our costs for providing free rides," said Avis.

Avis said they're anticipating a lot of people to be riding the bus, so they are asking anyone requesting services to just be patient," said Avis.

The Tele-Transit Shuttle service will be offered from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with fixed bus routes sticking to their normal Tuesday schedules.

If you need a ride from your home, just call the transit phone number at (269) 966-3474.