Changes to a Public Transit Route Could Affect Those with Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Issues

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

FISHERSVILLE, Va. -- Sydney Smith uses a bus to get to and from the Valley Community Services Board, or VCSB, to help with drug and alcohol-related treatment. It's a treatment she said is vital for her life.

“It saved my life. If I didn't have this, I would be either in jail or dead, honestly,” said Smith.

The bus is the only way Smith gets to the center, since she faces a felony charge.

“I never really gave it much thought until I relied on it. I don't know what I would do without it. I wouldn't be able to get here.”

The route is part of the Virginia Regional Transit Plan that extends to Route 250. It runs partly thanks to city money, but a missed deadline to apply for money means the route might have to change.

Emergency Services Manager Robert Tucker said the VCSB will keep doing the best they can to get people the treatment they need.

“We're in a rural area and that makes it difficult in general, but people figure out a way to do it, so we will continue to work with people to figure out what we can do whatever the need may be,” said Tucker.

Ending transportation to VCSB would make it harder for Smith to get the help she said she needs to stop drug abuse.

“A lot of people would be hurting, and some people wouldn't get to have that second opportunity at life,” said Smith.

Smith said the programs have helped her get away from using drugs.

“It's pretty much I've always known. This place showed me there's another way to live, and that's important.”

The route could change as soon as January. The route costs about $150,000 per year to run and that comes from federal, state and local governments.

Virginia Regional Transit will hold a public meeting Tuesday in Fishersville to talk about plans for the future of the system.

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