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Altran continues to do great work in Alger County

The past year has been full of changes for organizations and businesses of all types.

However, here at The Mining Journal, we’ve seen many rising to the challenge with unique adaptations that have helped them continue to serve and support their communities.

One example can be found with the Alger Transit Authority, commonly known as Altran. While the early days of the pandemic were challenging for the agency — it closed for around a month and a half before reopening with a reduced schedule of rides — the authority used the time to throughly clean and sanitize its facility and busses.

When it resumed operations, the authority put several safety measures in place to protect riders and drivers, including masks, plastic foam guards and intensive cleaning between rides.

Furthermore, Altran is a part of a critical program that gives high-risk patients individual rides throughout Alger County, specifically medical appointments, Altran Executive Director Jennifer Heyrman said.

“When we transport those people, of course it’s no charge, we don’t want any interaction or exchange of funds, we don’t want to be messing with passes,” Heyrman told the Journal for a recent article. “So we pretty much did all of those free, and they were just very grateful that we were able to do that.”

Altran has also been transporting citizens to vaccine clinics at no cost and delivering groceries throughout the community, Heyrman said.

“When you do this kind of job, you normally like to help the public. My drivers take pride in what they do, they’re getting people where they need to go and if it wasn’t for public transportation to transfer those who’re limited, they’d be trapped in their home,” Heyrman said. “The community’s great, the drivers are great. They know that their job’s important, they take pride in their job, and if they can help members of the community, why not?”

We commend Altran for finding a way to help ensure the health and safety of its community, as these rides are absolutely critical to ensuring Alger County’s residents can access vaccines and medical care.

It can be extraordinarily difficult for residents of rural areas — especially youth, seniors, and others who may not be able to own or operate a vehicle themselves — to access critical services such as food and medical care without public transit resources, meaning Altran’s assistance can make all the difference in the lives of these residents.

We encourage our local, state and federal leaders to ensure continued and extended support for rural public transit authorities such as Altran in the Upper Peninsula, as access to transportation is critical to ensuring the health and safety of our communities.

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