Perrysburg starts transit
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Friday, 21 September 2012 10:24
PERRYSBURG — The city’s transit gap will be officially filled – at least partially – starting this weekend.
Perrysburg will begin operation of its own paratransit service on Sunday as TARTA service in the city sunsets.
The new temporary service, dubbed “Perrysburg Transit,” to be in operation until Nov. 11, is for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-eligible customers only. Use of the service is free, but riders must call for service 24 hours ahead of time. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I think they’ve got things in hand,” said Municipal Administrator Bridgette Kabat. “We’ve been communicating a lot the last couple days” on a number of details.
The service is to be provided by St. Louis-based transit firm Ride Right LLC, which was chosen by council as the city’s transportation provider. This “gap” service — partially filling in the period between the end of TARTA service on Saturday and the prospective start of a new fully-operational transit service by January — will cost approximately $55,600.
The gap service is expected to be continued for an additional $25,000 if a 1.45-mill transit levy passes in November.
“I’m happy that we were able to put something together,” said councilman Todd Grayson, who has spearheaded transit efforts in the city over the last 18 months. At a heated special council meeting this month to cement this gap service, Grayson actually voted against it, citing his concerns that funding for the service was coming from the city’s general fund.
However, he hoped that citizens will make use of the service to its best advantage.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy we have it. I didn’t like the pile of money we pulled it out of,” Grayson explained.
“I’m also hoping that in the next week or two, Ride Right will be able to provide a little more expanded coverage beyond ADA,” he continued, “but that’s nothing they can guarantee because they need to see how many customers they’re going to have, and what the demand is going to look like.”
Grayson characterized this current service offering as a “short-term solution” and asked riders to bear with the city as it potentially transitions to a new service should the levy pass. If it passes, “we can immediately start the transition period and Ride Right can start ramping up service as they’re comfortable.”
He said it is possible that a full suite of transit services may be available prior to the expected Jan. 1 start date.
“The goal is to get things ramped up as soon as (the levy) passes, as soon as possible.”
Negotiations with TARTA for additional service — including connection points with Perrysburg Transit — are reportedly in the embryonic stages. Kabat indicated that the city has been in email contact with TARTA General Manager Jim Gee about the current transit plan.
Riders may call for use of the new service in the city at (419) 872-8430, beginning Saturday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Current users of TARTA’s TARPS service are asked to use their TARTA-issued identification cards to show that they are eligible to use Perrysburg Transit. ADA eligibility applications will be available on the City of Perrysburg website at www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us. Pending applicants will be allowed temporary usage of the service.
Additional updates for service are expected to be posted to the city’s website.