Transit van is being put to good use—Atalig

Posted on Jul 30 2021

Although the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has no Rota office, it recently gave the Rota Mayor’s Office an American Disabilities Act-compliant transit van for the island’s use and Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig assures that this van is ready to serve those with disabilities or for those who lack transportation on the island.

In an email Thursday, Atalig said the van stands ready for service and those on Rota wishing to make use of the van’s service can call his office and they will be attended to.

Atalig made the clarification in response to a concern raised that the van is just “sitting at the [Rota] Mayor’s office parking lot.”

Alfreda C. Maratita, who heads COTA as special assistant for public transportation, pointed out that the Municipality of Rota is fully responsible for the transit van.

As per the memorandum of understanding between COTA and Rota leadership that was signed on July 1, COTA was responsible just for procuring the van and shipping it to Rota. Once the van was on Rota, the local municipality was to be fully responsible for its “fuel, lubrication, repair, maintenance, and upkeep.”

Maratita assured that COTA is in the “planning phase” of formally expanding its services to Tinian and Rota, and that the MOU with Rota was a means to provide transport services on the island in the meantime.

Maratita acknowledged that “perception is everything” and said that for COTA, its vans could be seen parked at the Marianas Business Plaza’s parking lot, where COTA is currently based. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re not doing anything. …We are operating this service very differently,” said Maratita.

Maratita reiterated that the transit van on Rota is not within COTA’s jurisdiction.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
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