Statistics & News

FCTA Board changes DR times

 Fulton County Transit Authority Demand Response operating hours were changed September 1.

“The Fulton County Transit Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously to reduce our Demand Response operating hours to 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday,” FCTA Executive Director Kenney Etherton said. “This reduction in service will not affect medical, life-sustaining, or Ride to Work trips. This reduction is to ensure that we are getting people to medical appointments, adult day services, and work promptly and efficiently.” 

The reduction of hours for Demand Response rides was not the only course of action the Board considered. 

“The FCTA Board discussed other options, but felt this was the least intrusive option,” Etherton said. “We hope that when we reach our staffing goal that we will be able to lift the reduction of services.” 

The FCTA leader has asked the community to practice patience with the agency for some time. 

“I hope our clients will remain patient and bear with us,” Etherton said. “COVID has forced us to make changes in our operations over the past 18 months. I appreciate that you entrust us to continue getting you ‘Going and Coming Your Way’.” 

FCTA proudly serves Fulton, Hickman, Graves, and Carlisle counties.

TSA extends face mask mandate

Anyone driving or riding in a Fulton County Transit Authority vehicle will continue to wear a face mask until after the new year.

Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) face mask mandate has been extended through at least January 18, 2022. The mandate includes all public transportation.

Although FCTA has required drivers and clients to wear a face mask since March 2020, the TSA mandate went into effect February 1, 2021, with an original expiration date of May 11, 2021. Because of the uptick of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus across the United States, authorities have now determined that continued wearing of face masks in all public transportation vehicles is needed. Authorities believe that the wearing of face masks in all public transportation vehicles helps control the spread of the virus and keeps employees and riders safer.

Rachel Cook started out her career at FCTA as a driver.

Cook named Operations Manager

Fulton County Transit Authority’s new Operations Manager will rely on experience to become successful in her new post there.

“I am very happy to announce that beginning September 1, Rachel Cook will assume the role of FCTA Operations Manager,” said FCTA Executive Director Kenney Etherton. “Mrs. Cook has been a driver, dispatcher, Lead Dispatcher, and Dispatch/Scheduling Supervisor during her career here at FCTA. I feel her experience will be valuable to the operations of our organization.”

Cook became a FCTA Driver in April 2016. In 2017, she moved to the Dispatch office. Cook was named FCTA’s Lead Dispatcher on August 2, 2020. On May 23, 2021, she became Dispatch/Scheduling Supervisor.  

The daughter of Teresa Decker, Cook is a graduate of Fulton City High School. Cook is also the wife of Brandon Cook. They have a son, Noah. The Cooks reside in Graves County.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to take on a different side of FCTA,” Cook said. “I have always joked that one day I would run Fulton Transit, and with determination and some pretty long days, that is becoming more of a reality. I am anxious to see how much different this role will be in comparison to what I am used to doing. I am also excited to get to witness firsthand how Mr. Kenney keeps this place operating.”

Etherton, too, is excited about Cook taking on the new role at FCTA.

“Congratulations, again, to Mrs. Cook,” Etherton said. “I think she has a bright future with our organization.”

Cook joins the FCTA Leadership Team that consists of Etherton, Assistant Director Paul Maxwell, and Building and Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Chris Brown.

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AGENCY INFORMATION - This graphic, provided by Purchase Area Regional Transit, offers various statistics and testimonials from Murray-Calloway County Transit, Paducah Area Transit System and Fulton County Transit Authority. Read the graphic carefully to learn more about each agency and how they work together to provide transportation for those in the Purchase Area.

FCTA alters rates for first time in decades

In a world that seems to be consistently changing, Fulton County Transit Authority has ironically made few changes – operational or otherwise - in its 37 years of “going and coming your way.”

On April 1, a significant change happened at FCTA when rates were raised for the first time in more than 20 years.

“Although we’ve been very fortunate with federal funding over the last year throughout the (COVID-19) pandemic, we have to look to the future,” explained FCTA Executive Director Kenney Etherton. “We know someday this will end. The money we’ve been able to procure through grants will go away.”

COVID-19 wasn’t the start of a conversation about raising rates.

“We actually began discussions on raising rates a year before the pandemic,” Etherton said. “The pandemic virtually ended the discussions and the Board of Directors postponed making the decision.”

A public hearing that was originally scheduled in the midst of the statewide closure in March due to COVID-19 was postponed until October 27 and held via Zoom.

“We decided then to move ahead with the rate increase,” Etherton said. “We can’t balance our budget off of grant dollars. We have to have a host of ways to bring in revenue to fund our match of the grants.”

During a special called meeting via Zoom on December 3, 2020, Etherton requested guidance from the FCTA Board of Directors on moving forward with the rate increase. Mike Gunn made a motion to go ahead with the rate increase and gave an April 1, 2021, date for the increase to begin. Sandy Bellew seconded the motion, and the motion was then approved by the board.

In reality, proceeds from rates are actually a small portion of FCTA’s overall revenue.

“We looked at this from the avenue of trying to simplify our rates, first of all, and become more user friendly,” Etherton explained. “There are winners and losers in this rate increase. Some will have a cheaper rate and some will have a little bit higher rate. We need to be balanced and fair.”

Included in the rate increase are some new rides with set amounts that were not available in the past.

“We’ve added some areas in the rates that I think we were missing rides on and, honestly, where rates were too high when we transported clients to these areas. Now it’s on a more economical rate.”

The Ride to Work program, the latest addition to the FCTA operations, has been updated to include more offerings, too.

“We’ve created a cross-county fare with the Ride to Work program with this as well,” Etherton added.

The overall rate increase will simply help keep FCTA “going and coming your way.”

“At the end of the day, we haven’t raised our rates in over 20 years except for a small tweak here and there,” Etherton emphasized. “For us to be sustainable in the future, this is a small part of one of many things that we have to do.”

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