TOLEDO (WTOL) - WTOL 11 reported TARTA planned on making big cuts to service, last week. Lucas County Commissioners are now calling for the reinstatement of Sunday and holiday service, immediately.
In the long term, Commissioners announced that they are putting together a task force made of community members to talk about ways to tackle funding issues for the service and examine the future of public transportation.
“What is looks like today doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. So we want to look to the future, build a public transportation, maybe not just for poor people or disabled people. We want public transportation that everybody would be proud to ride,” said Lucas County Commissioner, Pete Gerken.
The special citizens task force will be named by the Lucas County Commissioners, who will report back to the Commissioners with recommendations.
“Examine the current system and help make recommendations for a change I think people need to hear what’s really going on and bring all the issues to light so we can have a strong transportation system moving forward," Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said.
TARTA's General Manager, Jim Gee released this statement regarding the issue:
We recognize that the upcoming service cuts will make a negative impact to the quality of life for passengers, and we sincerely regret that this decision became necessary. TARTA’s current funding model and revenue limitations forced a difficult decision for TARTA and its board of directors. However, TARTA has been and remains open to collaborating with groups that may find new approaches to providing more effective public transportation options for our community. Within the past month, TARTA initiated dialogue with several community groups, most notably the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. Plans are currently under development with the Chamber to commission an economic impact study of public transit and investigate using a priority-based budgeting model for TARTA’s operations. The goal of these activities is to identify innovative approaches to budgeting and service analysis that would lead to better public transportation in our region. As I understand, the Lucas County Commissioners today announced an effort to develop a Blue Ribbon Panel geared toward these same goals. TARTA openly welcomes collaboration with such a group, and we willingly accept different perspectives and ideas for new revenue streams or service models that allow TARTA to offer sustainable, efficient and adequate public transit.