A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Beth West

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Beth West

Doctors appointments, grocery shopping, visiting with friends and family, and attending community events are just some of the things citizens of La Porte would not be able to do without help from the public transit system, TransPorte.

Beth West serves the community as the director of TransPorte. West is passionate about ensuring everyone within La Porte has equal opportunity and access to doing the things they want and need within the city. 

Unlike other transit services within the Region, TransPorte does not follow a route system but instead prioritizes the direct needs of the community members utilizing the service. 

“We're considered an on-demand service,” West said. “That means that you have to call to schedule a ride and then we will send the bus out to you. You may be the only one on the bus or you may have several other people riding with you.”

To maintain timeliness and efficiency, TransPorte will try to schedule the day’s rides to overlap with one another in a way that makes sense.

“We are trying to be as efficient as we can,” West said. “If we have three or four rides on the west side of town, and they all want to go out to Walmart, we are going to pick everybody up and take them all on one trip if we can.”

To eliminate the hassle of having to walk or travel to a predetermined bus stop, TransPorte buses pick up in front of your residence and drop you off at your location within the city limits of La Porte. In the past few months, TransPorte has expanded to go about a mile outside of the city limits to bring people back into town for appointments and to go to work and then to bring them back.

“There are a lot of people that don't have cars or don't like to drive, so they rely on us,” West said. “A lot of the misconception about transport is that it is generally for the elderly. We do have a lot of elderly riders, but we also have a lot of people that we pick up and take to work.” 

TransPorte can be utilized by any community member that needs transportation assistance. Some community members schedule their rides in advance to be taken and picked up from work or school. If you schedule your rides in advance, you can be guaranteed a certain pickup time every day to ensure you arrive at your destination on time. 

West explained how some of the TransPorte employees have come to her and expressed excitement to know that they are doing something good for the community. 

“We're making a lot of our citizens who aren’t mobile more mobile, and they're able to get places. They're not only able to go shopping and go to their doctor's appointments, but they're able to go out to the park,” West said.

When West is not at work, she enjoys taking trips with her husband, going on walks, reading, and attending community events and concerts at the parks within La Porte. 

TransPorte will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in September, and West shared how her career has come full circle due to her past experiences riding TransPorte growing up in the city. 

“When I was younger, before I could drive, I actually rode TransPorte,” West said. “It would go past my parents’ house, and I would board and go downtown so I could go to the ice cream store, the candy store, and the library. It was kind of a surreal feeling that now I'm actually in charge of something that I used to ride when I was a teenager.”

For more information on TransPorte, please visit cityoflaporte.com/departments/transporte