David Segovia

A lack of reliable wheels is one of the largest barriers for people trying to find work in Montgomery County, advocates say.

Expanding access to transportation is the focus of a new study to find ways of getting residents without cars to their jobs.

“It’s almost like getting troops to the battlefront,” said Dr. John Van Nuys, a local pastor who proposed the study.

Van Nuys and representatives from MontCares, the local online care provider database, asked Wabash College to study the issue. Students from the college’s Democracy and Public Discourse Initiative have interviewed more than a dozen community stakeholders, including city officials and industry leaders, to scope out the issue.

The city-run Sunshine Van shuttles people to doctor’s visits, grocery stores and Medicaid appointments, but the service is limited to seniors and people with disabilities.

“We still want to figure out ways to improve transportation in the community,” said Wabash junior David Segovia, who is involved in the study.

The issue will be discussed at two public forums Tuesday and Thursday at the Crawfordsville District Public Library. Both events will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, a panel of city officials and an industry representative is scheduled to answer questions in the Donnelley Room.

Brenda Tarter, who oversees Sunshine Van for Crawfordsville Parks and Recreation, will speak about the service. Mayor Todd Barton will outline local efforts already underway to improve local transportation.

Penguin Random House’s Mark Wollenberg will talk about how a lack of transportation affects people who works at factories.

Thursday’s panel in Room C features city plan director Brandy Allen, Jan Sears of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and Scott Servies of VIP Taxi.

Sunshine Van will provide a shuttle for residents who attend Tuesday’s event. Passengers are asked to meet outside East Side Baptist Church, 2000 Traction Road, at 5:45 p.m., or outside Nicholson Elementary School, 1010 Lane Avenue, at 6:15 p.m.

Transportation is not available for Thursday’s session.

For more on the project, visit wabash.edu/plus/democracy/transportation.

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