Joplin, Mo – Did you know Joplin’s largest employer – Freeman Health System – operates its very own transit system? It efficiently moves a majority of Freeman’s 4,500-plus employees from their vehicles to their offices in a matter of minutes.
It’s called FRED – Freeman Rapid Employee Delivery – and the system is “an absolute necessity,” said David Reeves, Freeman’s supervisor for facilities construction. It is a miniature version of a metro transit system found in larger cities, operating solely on Freeman property.
Each FRED bus transports Freeman staff to and from the Freeman Hospital West and the designated FRED parking lot, located south of McIntosh Circle Drive.
Primary shuttle pick-up and drop-off points are located at the hospital’s main entrance and in front of the Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute, though a FRED bus can drop off an employee at the Freeman Cornell-Beshore Cancer Institute or the David A. Ball Medical Building.
Each bus navigates a circular route less than a mile in length. It usually takes 7 – 10 minutes for a FRED driver to complete a single circuit, depending on the number of passengers onboard. On average, each FRED bus logs 15,000 miles a year.
“When there are fewer riders, it slows significantly, and the drivers will wait in the upper lot or at the hospital’s front doors until one of them picks up a passenger, at which time the two drivers will switch positions,” Reeves said.
Three buses transport employees during the peak hours in the morning and early afternoon. Other times during the late afternoon and evening, either two buses or a single bus will be in use.