Dear Editor of Grand Lake News,

I would like to express a concern to the public regarding the lack of resources available for public transportation in Delaware County. This is an issue for low-income families who need or are receiving services for themselves or their family. Pelivan is the only form of public transportation available in this area and the cost of using this resource is often a much bigger cost for low income families than they can afford. A one-way trip costs around $3 for non-tribal members. $3 seems like a reasonable cost but a round trip is $6 per person. If an individual is financially struggling, this is a large burden. The burden grows if a person must bring children or other family members along.

Some service providers in the area have made efforts to alleviate that burden on clients. However, for families who are participating in various/multiple services where transportation is not available by the agency, this is a barrier. Lack of transportation, or funds to pay for transportation, can make attending appointments very difficult or impossible. Many low-income families, who need to apply for welfare benefits to meet the basic needs of their family, have difficulty finding transportation to the Department of Human Services’ office to apply for benefits and complete required interviews if they do not have the funds for Pelivan or family/friends to bring them.

Although this is an issue that seems very minor and gets little attention, it can prevent a willing individual from getting the treatment and services that they need. Many of these individuals are court ordered to complete these services and others are completing them on a voluntary basis. Many families need welfare benefits to meet basic needs. It is a concern that something as simple as transportation can be such a large barrier for a family/individual to receive the assistance and services they need to ensure the well being of themselves or their family.

I do not have a solution to this problem, but I hope to bring this issue to the public eye and influence others in the community to act in some way and work toward reducing this problem for our neighbors and community members.

Alisha Gibe,

University of Oklahoma

MSW student