OATS, Inc. ridership numbers remain strong after 40 years of service, and the service continues to grow in popularity. But, that's not a huge surprise, organization officials say, considering OATS is the only transportation provider in many rural areas of Missouri.

OATS finished last fiscal year providing 1.7 million rides, an increase of 6.2 percent, or 99,646 rides over 2011. Service was provided to 33,769 Missourians and covered 16 million miles in just one year.

In Livingston County, OATS provided 53,913 rides, an increase of 6.9 percent (or 2,494 rides) over 2011. Service was provided to 1,007 Livingston County residents, and covered 178,139 miles in just one year.

Wherever you travel in Missouri, chances are you will see an OATS van or two along the way.

"OATS has continued to meet the challenges facing transit over the last few years," said Dorothy Yeager, Executive Director.

"We will continue to fulfill our mission of providing reliable transportation for transportation disadvantaged Missourians, so they can live independently in their own communities."

Yeager added that OATS is committed to providing safe, reliable and courteous transportation service.

OATS, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit corporation, providing specialized transportation for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and the rural general public in 87 Missouri counties. Governed by a 15-member board of directors, the organization has a staff of over 750 employees, and a fleet of 800 vehicles statewide. The home office is located in Columbia, Mo., with seven regional offices located throughout the state. OATS has grown to be one of the largest and most unique systems of its kind in the country.

OATS is funded, in part, through an allotment of federal funds from the Missouri Department of Transportation, and through contracts with Missouri Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Assistance Program, private contracts, rider donations, and contributions.

OATS is a public transportation system that is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, color, religion, or national origin, and, in fact, serves a wide diversity of clientele. For more information about OATS, Inc., visit www.oatstransit.org.

State of Missouri vs. Livingston County

Trip Purpose One Way Trips

Employment 567,851 18,849

Medical 345,968 7,428

Nutrition 182,949 5,601

Essential Shopping 168,326 8,790

Business 113,657 11,330

En-Route Stops* 232,527 1,195

Education 71,456 646

Recreation 19,538 74

Total Trips 1,702,272 53,913

*an example of an en-route stop is stopping by the pharmacy after a doctor's appt.