UPDATE: Walker Co. Transit gets fuel shipment Wednesday; normal service expected
Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said any patient with an appointment for a ride on Wednesday can contact the transit system at (706) 375-0803 or (706) 375-5857
UPDATE: Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell confirms to Channel 3 that fuel arrived Wednesday morning and they will resume services as normal.
However, more than 200 people were told Tuesday they wouldn't have a ride on Wednesday. There's no word if those same people were contacted about the transit system being back up and running again.
To ride on the Walker Transit System, you must reserve a spot. This could still impact those who planned a ride after they were notified services were shutdown.
Riders may want to call the Walker County Transit System: (706) 375-0803 or (706) 375-5857 to confirm.
Hundreds of people are scrambling to find a ride since Walker County's transit system will be shut down on Wednesday. County officials said a fuel shortage forced them to make the decision.
They said it has to do with the Alabama pipeline leak from earlier this month.
Walker County officials contacted more than 200 people on Tuesday who were supposed to ride the bus on Wednesday.
It's a service that takes people to doctor's appointments, work, and to run any errands for a fee.
"I've been to doctor's appointments out in Brainerd and it's very difficult if you ain't got the bus or nothing. It's very difficult because we're not able to drive and it's very difficult," Darian Magnus, a Walker County resident said.
Darian Magnus knows how important it is to have reliable transportation. He's in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy.
Magnus has used the Walker County transit system several times.
County officials decided to close the transit system for service on Wednesday because of a fuel shortage.
"This is not about money at all. It's simply about availability," Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said.
Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said she learned about the problem Tuesday morning.
The county still has some gas at their terminals, but their supply is low. For now, only first responders can fill up until the county receives a shipment of gas.
"Sometimes we have situations that we can't do anything about. We didn't realize we couldn't get fuel until this morning and I'm so sorry that we can't pick them up tomorrow," Heiskell said.
Some residents question why the county can't fuel up the buses at a nearby gas station. The transit supervisor, Larry Brooks, said drivers are not given credit cards for emergencies.
Magnus wasn't on the bus schedule for Wednesday, but he understands why some feel helpless.
"I would try to find some other way to get there, but there's a 50-50 chance I may not even get there. You know?," Magnus said.
A spokesperson for Walker County's fuel supplier, Parman Energy, said they will deliver the fuel in the morning. County officials said the Walker County transit system will be up and running again on Thursday.
The Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga released a statement on Tuesday in response to the transit system shutdown. Officials said they give patients a transportation grant, self funded, for an entire month of treatment.
They issued the following statement:
"We issue these grants so that there is no reason for a patient to miss their appointment, due to transportation issues. If we can't rely on public transportation then our grant is worthless and these patients risk death."
In response, Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said any patient with an appointment for a ride on Wednesday can contact the transit system at (706) 375-0803 or (706) 375-5857 and still receive one.