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Public Transit Systems for Rural Communities


September 9, 2010

To Stephenson County residents, businesses, agencies and organizations:

Stephenson County is exploring the need for public transportation for residents of all ages. To apply for the necessary supporting grants, the County is required to conduct a “needs assessment” by conducting this Community Survey. It is being distributed throughout the county – to reach the citizens of Stephenson County through local agencies, organizations, and businesses.

We need to hear from you. Think about what your needs might be if, for whatever reason, you could not drive. For instance, will you have family or friends available all hours of the day to take you to medical appointments, the grocery store, the drug store, or legal appointments? Do you have employees who have difficulty getting to work every day due to lack of adequate transportation?

Let us hear from you! And please let your employees know about the survey and encourage their participation. The better the response, the better the information, and the better our chances of success!

For your convenience, you can complete the survey online at:
Stephenson County Community Survey for a Public Transit System

Use County Code 177


If you could distribute surveys where you work or live, please contact Laurie Gungel at 815-238-6768 or


Myths and Facts of a Public Transit System for Rural Communities

1. MYTH: Public transportation only means big buses

FACT: Small buses or vans similar to what you might see a senior center provide public transportation in rural areas. These vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts and can accommodate people with special needs as well as the general public.

2. MYTH: Public transportation means that people are picked up at bus stops

FACT: Most rural systems provide service that is “Demand Response” which means the rider calls in to schedule a ride in advance (usually at least 24 hours before they need a ride). At that time, they also schedule where, and at what time, they will be picked up.

3. MYTH: Rural areas won’t have service because big buses won’t travel out into the country

FACT: Since smaller vehicles are used and the system is generally Demand Response, rural residents will also have access to service. Vehicles pick up at people’s homes, even if they live in rural areas.

4. MYTH: The County will have to raise taxes to fund the system

FACT: The County will not have to raise taxes because there are funds already being used throughout the county on transportation for specialized groups, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, workforce development, etc.


5. MYTH: Funding will run out which will make your county worse off than before

FACT: The federal funding (5311 Grant) that is available to help you create a rural public transportation system for your county is ongoing and generally increases at a rate of 3% per year. It is reimburses 80% of Administrative Costs of the transit system and 50% of Operating Costs of the system.



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