Perrysburg transit users want input
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer
Monday, 03 February 2014 11:09
PERRYSBURG - Public transit users want more input on the city's transportation system, and officials are working to further involve them in discussions.
Gil Lutz said he relies heavily on Ride Right, and at Tuesday's meeting of the Health, Sanitation and Public Utilities Committee, pushed for more influence among riders to make suggestions and offer concerns.
"I'm a heavy user of public transportation here in Perrysburg. I think Ride Right is doing an excellent job, I really do. It's wonderful. But there are a couple bugs I'd like to have addressed, or at least looked at," he said.
Lutz, who is blind, said that while the service operates until 9 p.m., there is no way to reach drivers after 5 p.m. if an appointment runs long or a meeting is canceled, for instance, and a rider needs to make an adjustment. In that event, he said taxis either won't come from Toledo, or will charge a premium and not arrive for several hours.
"There are not a whole lot of other opportunities if you're tied to public transportation, and my situation is not unique," Lutz said.
While admitting frequent Ride Right users have the cell phone numbers of several drivers, he asked for a way information could be forwarded.
The group's contract with the city indicates Ride Right will not staff someone to answer the phones after 5 p.m., but officials will open discussions for a possible solution, said Administrator Bridgette Kabat.
"The contract that we have is set up on best practices according to the transportation industry, and that's who we're receiving our guidance from," she said. "They're looking at both the practical side of service delivery, as well as keeping down costs for the city and the taxpayers. So we're trying to straddle that line, but we will absolutely go back to them and discuss these issues and see if there's a practical response."
In a separate but related matter, Lutz said he thinks more riders should be involved in the quarterly meetings to weigh changes or improvements.
While saying he thinks highly of Rachel Johnson, the citizen liaison to Ride Right, she simply does not use the service and should not be the only source of public input, Lutz said, adding that he's not the only person who wants to offer their suggestions.
Council member and committee chair Todd Grayson acknowledged there would be value in including more of a "rider-centric approach" to reviewing the system's efficacy.
"As not being a regular rider, you lose some perspective."
Kabat pointed out that Ride Right is currently developing a survey that will add voices and suggestions to the process.
"We're going to sift through them and see what's doable and what's not doable, what our challenges are and what our opportunities are and talk about those."
Lutz said he didn't attend the meeting to criticize the system, but rather to improve and spread awareness about Perrysburg's only public transit option.
"I want to see this thing so successful that we're sick of seeing all these vans floating around Perrysburg."
Some people don't use the service because they don't believe their schedule can be accommodated by the system, which requests notice of a rider's needs a day in advance, he said.
"Even though the drivers are wonderful, the vans are clean, small and expeditious - it's a great service - but a lot of people just won't try it."
Lutz encouraged more people, even if they can't give enough notice, to try. Often, he said, Ride Right can fit a request into its schedule.
"It happens every time, so I do it all the time."
Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 12:05