It may seem hard to believe, but life isn’t all about that first person you see in the mirror every morning. Sometimes, you have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Voters in Oxford, Addison and Orion townships will have an opportunity to do just that when they face a millage renewal for the North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot.
Before you cast your vote, ask yourself a few questions.
What would it feel like to be trapped inside your home or apartment day in and day out with loneliness and isolation as your only companions?
What would it feel like to not be able to drive yourself to the grocery store, to medical appointments or to your job?
What would it feel like to lack the independence and freedom many of us take for granted every day when we hop inside our cars, trucks and SUVs, turn the key and zoom off to wherever we need or want to go?
What would it feel like to depend on a valuable public service for your very survival and live in fear that it could be suddenly taken away if voters stop funding it?
Ponder these questions, put yourself in that place and you’ll get an inkling of what it feels like to be a NOTA user.
Established in 2001, NOTA provides low-cost, publicly-subsidized transportation for senior citizens, individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities, and low-income folks living in the three townships and their respective villages.
NOTA riders are driven to appointments with doctors and physical therapists, dialysis treatments, senior centers, church services, grocery stores, counseling appointments and therapy sessions, jobs, work training, community events, the Oxford-Orion FISH food pantry and hair appointments.
NOTA vehicles are currently on the road a combined 694 hours a week. There are 15 vehicles running on a daily basis Monday through Friday, plus two vehicles each day on Saturday and Sunday.
Last year, NOTA provided a total of 38,859 rides. Most of those rides were given to residents of Orion (18,672) and Oxford (18,094). The remaining 2,093 rides went to those living in Addison Township.
Senior citizens, with and without disabilities, accounted for the largest number of rides, a total of 16,688. That was followed by 15,534 rides for individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities and 6,637 rides for low-income folks.
Without NOTA, many of these folks would be in dire straits. They wouldn’t have access to the people, places and things they need to survive and thrive. They wouldn’t have access to the world outside their front door.
They would be cast aside. They would be forgotten. They would become shadows of themselves.
To NOTA users, a ride isn’t just a ride, it’s a lifeline, it’s a necessity, it’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
NOTA isn’t just another bus service, it’s something that allows local residents to maintain their dignity and gives them hope for tomorrow.
NOTA isn’t asking for much with its millage renewal requests. The three proposals on the three township ballots vary slightly, but they’re all approximately 0.24 mill for five years. That’s far from excessive.
Considering everything NOTA does and how extremely vital this service is to our most vulnerable citizens, that tiny sum is quite a bargain. It’s pocket change.
Make no mistake, NOTA is not some bloated, wasteful, inefficient operation like most government entities that provide public transportation.
NOTA does not have lavish facilities. NOTA is not top-heavy with overpaid bureaucrats. NOTA isn’t constantly asking for more and more money. NOTA isn’t looking to build an empire to glorify politicians in Detroit or Lansing.
NOTA is predominantly staffed by part-time employees, operates on a bare-bones budget and is watched like a hawk by local elected officials who are directly accountable to the voters.
Bottom-line, there is no valid or logical reason to vote against NOTA’s millage renewal requests.
NOTA is used. NOTA is needed. NOTA has earned and deserves your support.
We strongly urge voters in Oxford, Addison and Orion townships to vote YES on NOTA’s millage proposals.
Keep in mind, just because you don’t use NOTA’s services now, doesn’t mean you won’t need them in the future.
You never know when age, health issues, the economy or all three are going to catch up with you and the next thing you know, you’re calling NOTA for a ride.
A ‘yes’ vote now helps ensure there will be a vehicle and driver waiting at your door later. – CJC