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Local Transit Champion Receives State Recognition

a photo of Kim West on a graphic background with the NCPTA logo'

Local Mountain Mobility advocate, champion, and customer Kim West recently received the North Carolina Public Transit Association’s Transit Advocate of the Year Award. Recipients of the award are recognized for their work in championing the vital role public transit plays in enhancing the quality of life for North Carolina residents.

“Kim, who is visually impaired, embodies the definition of an advocate, and has been a voice for individuals with disabilities who have a desire for quality transportation,” says Community Development Division Manager Matt Cable. “For many years, Kim served on our Community Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB) as a business representative on behalf of Industries for the Blind in Asheville. Along with many of her co-workers, Kim used Mountain Mobility for work trips and never hesitated to let management know when a new employee joined them who needed transportation. She quite often would encourage a new employee to contact Mountain Mobility to inquire about service, and she has assisted many of her vision-impaired colleagues to secure the service needed for work and other community trips.”

Kim has never been shy about bringing service issues to the forefront of any meeting or discussion. "Advocating for public transit gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the disabled community," says West. "I can bring attention to other passengers’ needs that the board may not otherwise be aware of." For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, West shared with staff how crucial it was to inform the public of safety and cleaning measures since many of her friends and colleagues could not see for themselves what kind of precautions Mountain Mobility was taking. “We began using her recommendations in our monthly follow-up calls to customers, reassuring them we were taking extra precautions,” says Mountain Mobility Program Manager Vicki Jennings. “This is just one example of the many ways Kim advocates for the transit customers we serve. We are grateful to have Kim West as a member of the Mountain Mobility family and value her impact on our community as both a passenger, member of the CTAB, and advocate.” William High, Lead Transportation Planner.

West was recently appointed by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners to begin her fifth term on the CTAB, this time as a member-at-large on behalf of the ADA community. Kim is also proud to tell you that she is the “oldest” Mountain Mobility passenger – not because of her age, but because she started using the system at its start-up back in 1989. "Having insight into how Mountain Mobility works gives me the opportunity to help other passengers understand why certain policies are in place," notes West. "I am honored, excited, and surprised to receive this award!"

 

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Updated Apr 26, 2023 07:40 AM
Published Apr 25, 2023 02:34 PM


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