After six months of planning, the Atascosa Cowboy Transit system, which services Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Poteet is ready to giddy-up and go.
“In February, after initially being approached by Poteet Mayor Willie Leal to discuss the viability of a daily transit system, I met with the Mayors of Pleasanton, Jourdanton, Poteet and Commissioner Mark Gillespie and Sean Scott director of ART,” said Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley. “The meeting was very positive. We are a growing county and a transit service will be a great economic asset to business in the area while providing affordable transportation to all in need.”
At the July 16 regular Pleasanton City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to approve a fixed-route local transit system between Pleasanton, Jourdanton and Poteet, better known as Atascosa Cowboy Connect.
Pleasanton was the last city needed to approve the new transit system. Jourdanton approved the shuttle service unanimously at their regular City Council meeting on June 22. Poteet held a special called meeting on July 14 and also passed the system unanimously. The system began on July 1, according to the ART website. A formal grand opening ceremony is expected in the coming weeks once the stops along each route are finalized.
“We look forward to serving our citizens with low cost transportation,” Pleasanton Mayor Travis Hall Jr., said in a statement. “It will benefit those in need and especially in adverse weather conditions.”
All three city councils heard a presentation on the proposed system from Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley and ART. Hurley said to Pleasanton City Council Members this is the same system ART uses in Seguin and will cost the county roughly $140,000. Hurley added the County Commissioners are willing to pick up half of the proposed cost.
From July 1 through Sept. 30, a partial budget year, the system will cost Atascosa County $14,043. During that time, Pleasanton will pay $7,021 to the county while Jourdanton and Poteet will pay $3,510 to the county. After the new budget year starts on Oct. 1, the cost for the county will increase to $56,273. Pleasanton’s price tag will jump to $28,086 and Jourdanton and Poteet will rise to $14,043.
“It’s pretty obvious that Pleasanton’s going to benefit the most, businesswise, because all the shops are here,” Hurley said at Pleasanton City Council on July 16. “Walmart’s here, H-E-B is here, retail stores are here.”
The project, put on by ART, offers multiple shuttles that run between the three cities. The Poteet Spur shuttle would run at 7, 9 and 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m., and drop riders off at Lowe’s Market in Poteet, Coastal Bend College and Poteet Town Hall. The Cowboy Connect Shuttle would run between Pleasanton and Jourdanton Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with stops at Jourdanton Housing, Walmart, H-E-B, Coastal Bend College, Methodist Hospital South and the Atascosa County Courthouse. Those are not the only stops anticipated to be on the final route, Judge Hurley said. ART Director Sean Scott is set to meet with Judge Hurley on Wednesday to work on getting additional stops on each route. The Alamo Area Council of Governments posted on their Facebook page asking residents of Atascosa County to chime in with their suggestions for stops on the Cowboy Connect. Residents have until July 31 to voice their opinions.
It will cost one dollar each time you get on the bus. For senior citizens and students, the cost will be 50 cents.
Poteet Mayor Willie Leal echoed Judge Hurley’s sentiment, but also acknowledged how big of an impact the shuttle will have on his residents and the county as a whole.
“I think it’s going to be a great benefit,” Mayor Leal said. “We have a lot of citizens that don’t have mobility to get to services that they need, both commercial, like H-E-B or Walmart, or needing to go to the hospital or the courthouse. So, if they don’t have this transportation system, then they have to ask people for a lift or wait for one of their family members to get off from work. So, I think it will be a big benefit for everyone in Poteet, Pleasanton and Jourdanton to have this transit available.”
At Commissioners Court on Monday, July 27, Judge Hurley said the county hopes to include Charlotte and Lytle into the routes eventually.
“Let’s give it several months to make sure it runs smoothly and then reach out to Lytle and Charlotte to see if they want to participate,” Judge Hurley said on Monday. “It may not be a daily run, it may be a couple times a week or once a week. That’s going to be open to discussion.”
In addition to the new system, ART will still offer the same curbside pickup options they have under the previous transit system.