Dozens join in bike ride demonstration to show support for SOTO Ride to Work program

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Topeka program that helps people get to work could be in jeopardy.

On Saturday, members of Topeka JUMP organized a bike ride demonstration and were joined by the Kaw Valley Bicycle Club as well as community members.

The demonstration was in support of the SOTO Ride to Work Program.

The program was started back in 2017. It allows employees from participating businesses in South Topeka to get rides to or from work via taxi for five dollars per ride.

The remaining cost is split between the businesses and Topeka’s Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO).

But, the future of the program is uncertain, as JEDO will have to decide whether they will renew funding for the program.

During the demonstration, participants rode their bikes from First Baptist Church to the Target distribution center, a participating business in the SOTO Ride to Work program. It’s about a five-mile ride each way.

The purpose of the ride was to show what those who use the program could possibly have to do if the program was eliminated.

Lester Montgomery, a member of Topeka JUMP said he’s concerned that if the program goes away, it could have a negative impact.

“The buses don’t come out this far,” said Montgomery. “For people who are looking for jobs, they can’t get out there. Mars and Target, and many of those businesses out there are good employers and pay decent wages. So, this is vital, we think, to help the economy and the city, not just the individuals. It will also help those businesses with a wider pool of good employees.”

Other organizers with Topeka JUMP said ultimately, they would like to see a permanent plan in place to continue the program. But, right now, they would at least like it to be renewed for 2020.

Members of the board for JEDO will decide on the future of the program when they meet on Dec. 11.

To learn more about the SOTO Ride to Work program, click HERE.

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