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Free Lakeland bus program designed to help job seekers

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LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

A brand new bus program in the city of Lakeland is designed to pave the way to paychecks for some of the area's lowest income residents.

The Residential Employment Transportation Assistance Program or RETAP launches Tuesday.  It's a partnership between the Lakeland Housing Authority and Lakeland's Citrus Connection bus service.

"We know that it's a problem when people can't get to work because of transportation," explained Citrus Connection spokeswoman Cathy Wolosin.
 
"So the objective of this program is to help the folks that are living in public housing and would very much like to work but don't have a way to a way to get around," Wolosin said.

Lakeland Housing director Benjamin Stevenson says the program makes perfect sense for many of the residents who rely on his agency's services. 

"The clientele that we serve, you know, they're accustom to the public transportation system because most of them cannot afford a car because you have to make a choice, do I want to buy a car or do I want to feed my kids," Stevenson explained. 

The Citrus Connection will allow up to 100 housing authority residents to receive free transportation anywhere they need to go any time the buses are running. 

"You simply need to have a job that's in jeopardy because you don't have good transportation to get to there or you're looking for a job and still transportation is your issue," Wolosin said.

Housing Authority officials are in the process of identifying qualified residents now who can begin using the free program immediately.
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