Transportation for the disabled coming to Wood County

The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities is rolling out a transportation program for clients
to use to visit family, shop and attend church.
Superintendent Brent Baer, who attended Thursday’s Wood County Commissioners meeting, said the new
service starts April 1.
“We are ecstatic. The advocates have been beating the drum and we are excited to answer the call,” Baer
said.
There will be a formal presentation about the new service at Monday’s developmental disabilities board
meeting. There will be a virtual forum on March 25.
The board is contracting with ViaQuest Day and Employment Service for $12,500 a month. The vehicles,
which can hold up to four wheelchairs, are accessible and may be booked in advance through an app.
If available, they can also be reserved just 30 minutes in advance.
The cost is $12,500 a month, Baer said. There will be no additional costs, such as per mileage or vehicle
fee.
“We’re not employing drivers,” he said.
Drivers will be trained in crisis intervention, completion of incident reports, first aid and CPR, he
said.
A profile will show the user’s name, age, date of birth, photo and other information, such as if the
client needs someone at the stop location, if no assistance is needed and if this is a one-way trip.
Users can also bring a loved one with them, Baer said.
The vehicles will be available from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, with two vehicles on the road, and 8:30
a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with three vehicles on the road.
The board has a six-month contract, but plans on running it through the end of the year, Baer said.
“You don’t want to offer service and then take it away,” Baer said. “We will do a thorough evaluation and
report to the board at our September meeting.”
Baer said that Franklin County is launching a similar program at the same time, but Wood County is a
leader in Ohio in this type of transportation program.
“I’m not aware of another pilot in this state at this time,” he said.
Baer gave some examples of how the program will work.
One man, who receives county services, grew up on the family’s farm in Millbury and now lives south of
Bowling Green. He misses working on the farm, Baer said, and could use the service go to Millbury on the
weekend.
“We’ve taken the pressure off mom and dad to every week schedule and get transportation,” Baer said. “One
of the things we’re happy about is it’s going to increase family time. In Wood County, that’s the
grassroots of who we are.”
He expects that the weekends will be heavily booked with family activities and church.
“It’s going be a benefit to Wood County, for sure,” said Ed Metzger, president of the developmental
disabilities board.
Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said that the new program will offer a lot of opportunity.
“It is definitely an issue. It just gives them so much more freedom and power over their own lives,” she
said.
Baer said this transportation program will present options for housing, too.
“This should open up those communities for us,” he said, mentioning Weston, Haskins, Luckey and
Pemberville. “We have a lot of great communities.”