HISTORY OF WEST ALABAMA PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Initially, West Alabama Health Services started transportation in 1977. The non-profit healthcare facility purchased two 15-passenger vans to transport dialysis patients to their appointments. After about a year, a federal mandate required all local Department of Human Resource services to provide transportation for their clients. Although the Greene County Department of Human Resources had a master-level social worker transporting clients, the director realized the inconvenience of this duty.
Working together, the director of DHR and the executive director of WAHS were able to establish a partnership that solved the problem. The Greene County Department of Human Resources would now be able to register clients seeking social services and in need of transportation for ridership with West Alabama Health Services. Additional vehicles were purchased; two 7-passenger wagons and five 15-passenger vans. The Section 19 Program allowed West Alabama Health Services to acquire a fleet of vehicles and transportation services were expanded to other counties and evolved into West Alabama Public Transportation.
In the early 1970's and 80's, about 20% of the rural West Alabama population did not have transportation and no public transportation program was available. A survey was conducted to research the dire need for a public transportation program. The survey measured costs paid for services to secure daily living necessities to specialized medical services. Persons without transportation were paying up to $20 for a trip to the doctor, grocery store or other pertinent needs. In this rural area, services were limited in small towns like Eutaw, Greensboro, Livingston, Demopolis, Butler and Uniontown. Specialists and other individual services were only located in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Selma and Meridian. At this time, dialysis units were located a distance away in Birmingham and Mobile in Alabama and in Jackson in Mississippi. The results of the survey proved a need for reliable cost-effective transportation in rural areas.
Today, West Alabama Public Transportation (WAPT) is the designated provider in nine (9) counties including Bibb, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Perry and Sumter.