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‘Without them I wouldn’t have my independence’

62-year-old Mary Jo Lucero has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop her from getting everywhere she needs to go.

Although she can’t drive, she always where she needs to be thanks to Pocatello Regional Transit, a service she’s been utilizing for decades.

“I was the first one to ever use the bus,” she said. “So it’s been incorporated in my life for a very long time.”

Lucero is a regular rider and said she feels like she has her independence because of the service.

“I would be homebound,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to go get my groceries.”

When she has to go to the hospital, Lucero said PRT is her preference over an ambulance.

“Because when I take the ambulance to the hospital, they don’t transport my wheelchair, so I have no way back home.”

Lucero claims she’s ridden the bus for nearly 40 years and just wants to thank those who have helped her get around.

“There’s a lot of kind people all over this community and the bus drivers, they’ve always been nice, opening doors, they open doors and they make sure I get on the sidewalk and when I’m packing my groceries they make sure they get loaded and unloaded and carried in the house,” she said. “They’ve just been super, super great.”

Pocatello Regional Transit Director Skyler Beebe said he’s not surprised by the extra efforts of his drivers.

“Our drivers wouldn’t ever go to a point where they’re violating our policy, but, you know, if there’s something they can do to go above and beyond to help someone’s needs, they’re really good about doing that.”

For Lucero, knowing that even when she’s stuck, “I can call and say ‘I’m stuck, come and get me I’m stuck,” gives her peace of mind and makes her feel comfortable.

Situations like that are what PRT drivers make exceptions for “because they don’t have any other means to do that,” Beebe said.

For Lucero, life isn’t getting any easier. Her cerebral palsy has caused life long vision problems and a worsening spinal issue is continuing to cut down her mobility.

“But I’ll still be able to get around,” she said. “Because I’m a tough person. I can get around when everybody says ‘you can’t do that,’ I do it anyway.”

And wherever she’s going she’ll have the PRT to thank.

“I’ve been very lucky in my life,” Lucero said, “because I have an outstanding community that helps me. The fire department, the police department and the bus system. Without these people, I would never be on my own.”

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