OATS Transit is cutting its services as the federal government shutdown continues. The transportation service relies partially on federal grants to cover operating costs.
OATS is a public transportation service that covers 87 counties in Missouri. It focuses on giving transportation to people living in rural areas and seniors, especially to places such as medical appointments or the grocery store.
Thirty-five percent of OATS’ funding comes from federal grants, according to its website. The service must apply for reimbursement of its monthly costs, OATS Mid-Missouri Regional Director Dion Knipp said.
September was the last month for which OATS received reimbursement. Reimbursements typically take two to three months, Knipp said. The partial government shutdown means there are no federal workers available to process requests for payment.
Beginning on Feb. 4, OATS will reduce the number of buses running in Boone County from seven to four. If the shutdown continues, Knipp said, it will reduce services by about 25 percent across mid-Missouri, which includes Boone and 14 other counties.
With fewer running buses, employees will be working fewer hours, and riders might face longer wait times.
“We are working to reduce service with a minimal impact on our riders, our drivers and the agencies we contract with,” Knipp said.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.