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Midland And Odessa Help Keep Public Buses On The Road During Government Shutdown

EZ Rider buses will continue to pick up passengers as the shutdown continues because of Midland and Odessa. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden 

Yesterday,  the U.S. Senate rejected two bills that would’ve reopened the federal government. And as the partial shutdown continues with no end in sight, cities in the Permian Basin are pitching in money to keep government-funded public transit from coming to a full stop. 

EZ Rider is the public transit system that operates in Midland and Odessa. They shepherd about 18 hundred passengers a day along the streets of the two cities according to Jennie Garcia is the general manager of the Midland-Odessa EZ Rider program.

She said, “These people have to get to work, they have medical appointments, dialysis. So, these are things they cannot miss.”

She said the majority of the organization’s funding comes from the federal government on a month by month basis. So by the beginning of January EZ Rider was running out of money.

Earlier this week both Midland and Odessa’s City Councils pledged to loan $200,000 each every month until the shutdown is over.

Garcia said, “It’s a big sigh of relief that the cities stepped up and decided to help us.”

According to Garcia, once EZ Rider’s federal funding resumes, both cities will be paid back.


Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.