NEEDLES — A $9 fare to transport shoppers to stores in Mohave Valley will be waived for at least the first 130 trips or so, thanks to donations pledged during the Needles City Council meeting of July 9.

A public hearing held that night revealed that some may struggle to pay the $9 charge.

Councilor Timothy Terral pledged $200 to alleviate the pain. Cheryl Luell of The Healing Center pledged $1,000. Councilor Shawn Gudmundson, tongue firmly in cheek, pledged his entire paycheck for service on the city council: $1 a month.

There was some concern the city not be put in a position of deciding who could afford the ride and who should receive the subsidized fare. Ultimately, it was decided the subsidies would be granted to whoever wanted them until the money runs out. The $1,212 should cover about 134 rides.

Reserve a seat by calling the Needles Regional Senior Center at 760-326-4789 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The shuttle will leave the west parking lot of El Garces along Front Street at 8:15 a.m. Wednesdays and stop at the Walmart Supercenter, Safeway, Smith’s and CVS pharmacy locations in Mohave Valley. It is to leave the valley at 11:45 a.m. to return shoppers to Needles.

The pilot program began July 10. The city must collect fare box revenue according to provisions for funding the program.

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