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Jackson’s JTRAN Route Expansion Hits Snag With Ridgeland in Blow to Public-Transit Accessibility

JACKSON, Miss.—Will Devine was still moving when he blacked out nearly 10 years ago and walked across North State Street while on his frequent route to a CVS in Jackson, Miss. The disabled military veteran heard the sound of screeching tires as a driver hit the brakes upon seeing him walking aimlessly in the road.

“I walked out in front of a car. A big ol’ Cadillac,” Devine recalled in an interview with the Mississippi Free Press on March 12. “I’m glad they were looking.”

He went to the local VA office that day and told them what had happened. “That’s when I found out I was diabetic. I would have dizzy spells,” he said. “When I found out I was sick, the medications they put me on—it made me drowsy.”

Will Devine said in an interview on March 12, 2024, that he has been completely dependent on using public transportation for more than a decade. He wants people to understand that he and disability-rights activist Scott Crawford are “two of the individuals fighting for senior citizens and the disabled that ride the JTRAN bus” in Jackson, Miss., he said. Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad

A native of Dallas, Texas, Devine would occasionally ride the city bus when he didn’t want to drive before moving to Jackson over two decades ago. But after the medical scare in Jackson, he grew more and more dependent on public transit and now completely relies on it.

Grocery shopping. Appointments at the VA. Going to get food for his cat. With his walking cane and a knee brace or two in tow, Devine uses Jackson’s public-transportation system, JTRAN, to do it all. “I can’t get nowhere fast but as long as I can get around, I’m happy,” he said.

But Devine said he was frustrated after learning recently that the City amended its plan to create JTRAN drop-off and pick-up points at the Walmart Supercenter and Northpark Mall on East County Line Road; those dropoffs would have entered into the City of Ridgeland, whose suburban mayor rejected the plans.

“The mayor from Ridgeland said ‘no.’

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