It will soon be time to say "hola" to a few changes coming to the Beaumont Municipal Transit system.
In order to meet new regulations from the Federal Transportation Administration, Beaumont City Council members approved a plan on Tuesday that would address the needs of bus riders who speak little to no English.
"We want to enhance our service and make sure we're providing services that are needed for the community," said Ward III Councilman Audwin Samuel.
Under the plan, bus schedules and maps would be offered in Spanish, and transit-related announcements would be posted (in Spanish) at locations frequented by members of the Hispanic community, like the Mercado de Familia grocery store on College.
Announcements would also be broadcast over the airwaves via the Spanish radio station KOLE1340, and show up in the Spanish newspaper "La Voz". The newspaper's director, Roberto Castillo, will be helping the city with its translation efforts.
"We need to translate information because a lot of (Hispanic) people don't use public transportation," Castillo told 12News. "Sometimes they're working and they drive together, like 3-4 guys in the same car, because they don't know how they can use public transportation."
According to the 2010 Census, 13.4% of Beaumont's population is Hispanic. While bus stop benches in Hispanic communities may be empty more often than not, community leaders like the fact that the city is doing what it can to make public transportation more accessible to all.
The new changes are expected to cost about $5,000. A combination of federal, state and city funds will be used to pay for the program. There has been no mention of when these new services will be available.