TOWANDA — Bradford County Commissioner Ed Bustin updated the community this week on the status of the changes that the state proposed for the Medical Assistance Transportation Program.

Back in April, commissioners made known their opposition to the changes, which would take away the scheduling power of BeST Transit for the program and essentially award that task to the lowest bidder.

“When the (state) budget was passed this year in Harrisburg, there was a last-minute proposal to transfer the control of scheduling (of) the state- federally-funded transit authorities in the state to a brokerage company, or a new organization,” Bustin had said in April. “So, BeST could do it, but so could a company from California or Colorado or Chicago or whatever.”

While the move would save the state money, it would also mean a substantial loss of funding to BeST’s operations, which would “cripple their ability to function as an organization,” Bustin had said.

“That model has not worked in other public service or social service programming,” the commissioner stated this week.

However, Bustin said the state recently imposed a 180-day stay on the proposal to study it out further before putting it into practice.

“Obviously, that should have happened before the Legislature made that vote, but I’m glad they’re taking action on it,” he said. “We’re going to continue to pressure them. This is a very important thing for our local residents.

“The last thing we need to do — particularly for folks who tend to be under a lot of stress and needing assistance — is have them have to call someone who doesn’t even know where Bradford County is to determine when and where they’re going to get on a bus,” Bustin added.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or Follow Johnny Williams on Twitter @johnnywMT

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