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In May of 2006, a coalition of southwestern Mississippi public transportation providers formed SMART to address the requirement of new federal regulations to develop a regional plan for coordinated public transportation. SMART is a group of agencies with the common goal of providing transportation services to the general public, the elderly, and the ill. These agencies serve the sixteen southwestern counties in Mississippi. The counties served by SMART are: Adams, Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Lawrence, Lincoln, Marion, Pike, Simpson, Walthall, and Wilkinson.
Natchez Transit is the designated lead transit agency for SMART and a vital partner in that coordinated services network. The SMART initiative is open to all the region’s public transportation stakeholders. Included in SMART’s system are: transit providers, state agencies, consumers, non-profit agencies, and for-profit organizations. Also included are faith based organizations, health and human service agencies, and local, county, and regional governmental partners. Most of the agencies operate programs under the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT’s) rural transit program. SMART provides a range of services to link people, through enhanced mobility, with places that enhance their quality of life.
In the seven years since the founding of SMART it has prospered and grown and the services provided to the public by its members have improved. SMART has accomplished at least three things that have brought it closer to meeting its original three goals. SMART has expanded services, increased hours of operations, and increased days of operations. The opening of the new Regional Intermodal Transit Center in Natchez provides an opportunity for SMART to move closer to fully achieving its original primary goals.
SMART’S Primary Goals
Goal I: Enhance Transportation Access
It is the goal of the SMART to enhance transportation access to transit service in southwest Mississippi through the coordination of existing and future service.
Goal II: Minimize Duplication
It is the goal of the SMART to minimize the duplication of transit service in southwest Mississippi through the coordination of existing and future service.
Goal III: Provide Cost-Efficient Transit Service
It is the goal of the SMART to develop the most cost-efficient transit system possible in southwest Mississippi through the coordination of existing and future service.