Since before Super Typhoon Yutu’s landfall, the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has transported a total of 575 individuals to designated shelters as of Nov. 24, 2018.
“The prioritization of transportation continues for displaced residents, and it will continue to be prioritized as we assist shelterees and residents transition back to their homes or avail of the number of health services on island,” said Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres.
Alfreda P. Camacho, the special assistant for public transportation, echoed this, assuring that COTA under the Office of the Governor continues to do everything in its capacity to support the CNMI’s needs for transportation amidst recovery efforts from Super Typhoon Yutu.
“More and more of our displaced residents are being transferred to designated shelters or transitioning back to their homes while others are able to seek health services with the assistance of public transportation,” she said.
Camacho noted that support from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Authority has been steadfast, particularly with the activation of emergency measures in the wake of Yutu.
She related that FTA acting administrator K. Jane Williams herself personally called the CNMI moments after Super Typhoon Yutu passed the Marianas.
“The FTA’s support of COTA with the recent competitive grant award of $6.38 million has come at a very pivotal time in the rebuilding of our community, affirming the necessity of a transit bus service on the islands…and for future disasters or situations involving emergency preparedness and response,” she said.
Williams noted that public transportation plays a crucial role in emergency preparedness and response, and that COTA “stepped up admirably to provide evacuations and other critical efforts in response to Typhoon Yutu.”
“I’m also hopeful that FTA’s recent announcement of a $6.38 million grant to the Northern Mariana Islands to establish new transit bus service on the island of Saipan will aid in the recovery efforts and provide additional transportation options to those residing on the island,” she added.
Since the COTA Agency Operations Center’s activation on Oct. 22, COTA has assisted residents in emergency shelters throughout Saipan. These efforts include transportation for healthcare services, prescription pickups at the local pharmacies, places of employment, government agencies, transitioning back to their residences, etc.
If you need a ride, contact the COTA Demand Response Shared Ride Service at 664-2690. Current reservation hours are between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Saturday. (PR)