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On Primary Day, TARC Offers Free Shuttles To Get Voters To The Polls

Jewél Jackson

TARC is providing free primary Election Day buses to and from the county’s only polling place at the Exposition Center so that citizens can vote.

“We want to step up and play an important role as a community partner by providing free TARC service from our headquarters at 10th and Broadway to the Fair & Exposition Center,” said Laura Douglas, the acting co-executive director of TARC. “It seemed to us that it was an important thing to do, to assist the community, to make sure everyone that is interested in voting had a way to get there and had a way to get back.”

Outside the station, cones and tape are set up to guide riders to the correct free bus. The buses which run every 30 minutes to the Exposition Center were not filled to capacity; at most 10 to 15 people as noon approached.

For Matthew George, the free bus was a necessity that allowed him to vote.

“I am coming from Old Louisville, had no ride, and woke up to Facebook with a message telling me that Lyfts were doing free rides and TARCs were doing free rides,” said George. “This has been the easiest voting experience I’ve ever had in 17 years.”

George said that it would take him four hours to get to and from his polling station near his mailing address in Klondike, a neighborhood in the East End, if he had to take the bus there. “I had a Lyft pick me up, took 10 minutes to vote, waited five minutes on the TARC, and all together it would be 45 minutes to an hour,” said George.

Donald Burrus, another TARC rider said that while he is appreciative of the free rides, he wishes the buses were more accessible for those who live in the West End. He wished the state had used the new convention center downtown instead of the fairgrounds.

“It probably would have been more convenient for people in the West End as well as the East End,” said Burrus. “Somebody has a plan and we’re going to see how that plan works.”

Douglas said while TARC is providing free buses, they aren’t the only ones. The NAACP and Urban League were also offering free shuttles to the polls.

But of the people who were riding the buses, the overwhelming atmosphere was a desire for change.

“I got grandkids and I don’t want them to struggle like me. I want them to have opportunities that I didn’t have, that my mother didn’t have, and her mother didn’t have. I just want change,” said Elaina Hayes, a Louisville native, who was planning to cast a vote in the Senate race for Rep. Charles Booker.

With a friend by her side, she said that she has been encouraging everyone she knows to vote.