“It was either with a bus, or don’t vote.” Local Transportation Company Gets Voters to the Polls

Evelyn Pine riding on a Rides Mass Transit District bus to the polls to vote. (WTHI Photo)
Evelyn Pine riding on a Rides Mass Transit District bus to the polls to vote. (WTHI Photo)

OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) – You’ve heard it this election, and will in future elections: “Get out and vote.”

But what if “getting out” isn’t an option for you?

For Oblong resident Evelyn Pine, she turns to Rides Mass Transit District.

The transportation company has offered free rides to the polls in Illinois since the 80’s.

Before today’s trip to the doctor, Pine stopped at her local polling location.

She says, “It’s very important to go out and vote. I don’t care who you’re voting for, but to get out there and at least express your opinion.”

Pine doesn’t have a car of her own.

A fact that could have stopped her from exercising her right to vote.

Pine says, “You know, my three other main ways of getting places are not available to me today. So it was either with a bus, or don’t vote.”

Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Jeffrey Drake says it’s an honor for the company to offer the public this service.

He says, “Rural transportation can be a hurdle for people to overcome and access to it. But, that’s where Rides steps in. There’s no place we won’t go or won’t transfer people to.”

No matter the political party, “no ride to the polls” doesn’t have to be a reason for not voting.

Drake says, “That’s what Rides is about. It’s about getting people to where they want to be, and if today is Election Day, the polling places is definitely one of those places.”

Thanks to Rides Mass Transit District, people like Evelyn are able to express themselves.

Pine says, “Everybody has that right. But, they have that responsibility to get out and try to make our world a little different, and that takes everybody getting out and expressing their opinions.”

Drake says during the last presidential election, the company saw an upwards of 50 riders take advantage of the free lift to the polls.