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Thinking of taking TARTA instead of driving?

Here's how to use public transportation to beat the high price of gas.

TOLEDO, Ohio — As gas prices soar, many drivers are looking for options to cut down on driving.

In Toledo average gasoline prices soared 37.5 cents a gallon last week for an average of $4.80, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 315 stations in the city.                    

Prices in Toledo are 73.8 cents higher than a month ago and $1.88 higher than a year ago. The cheapest station in the city Sunday was $4.54 and the most expensive was $4.99.

For many, these are the highest gas prices they've ever seen and the cost of commuting or driving for essential needs such as the grocery store or doctor is becoming unaffordable.

One common gas-saving tip is to take public transportation, and Toledo Area Regional Transit Agency ridership is up, though officials can't say how much high gas prices are contributing to the increase.

In May, 2021, the system saw about 2,500 rides per weekday. Currently more there are more than 6,500 rides per weekday. TARTA also resumed Sunday service in March.

So, riding the bus may be a great alternative to driving, but what if you've never used TARTA before? First-time users may need some help figuring out where to catch the bus or how to navigate the system.

Here are some tips for using the region's public transit to help you cope with the high cost of gas:

How much does it cost? 

TARTA suspended fares in March, 2020, in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency expects to restore fares beginning Aug. 1, but until then, rides are still free.

"Just get on!" TARTA Director of External Communications Sam Melden said. "You don't have to download an app. You don't have to pay a fare. It couldn't be easier."

When TARTA resumes collecting fares, most rides will cost $1.50 and most 30-day passes will be $45.

Some experts predict the high gas prices may persist for several months, but even when fares resume in August, public transit is still a great deal, Melden said.

"A monthly pass is less than a tank of gas," he said.

How do I find which bus to ride? 

Check out the bus routes online first to find the route that takes riders where you want to go.

TARTA buses cover seven communities -- Maumee, Ottawa Hills, Rossford, Sylvania, Sylvania Township, Toledo, and Waterville.The agency expects to expand service throughout Lucas County later this year.

You can take a TARTA bus to downtown Toledo, to most shopping districts, to most Toledo Metroparks and Toledo Lucas County Public Library branches. You can even take a TARTA bus to the Hollywood Casino.

Can TARTA take me to my doctor's appointment?

If you live in Maumee, Ottawa Hills, Rossford, Sylvania, Sylvania Township or Waterville, you can schedule a ride on a TARTA vehicle -- still for free -- to the doctor's office, grocery store or anywhere else in those communities by using TARTA's Call-a-Ride service. 

You need to call ahead to schedule these services.

How will I know when the bus is coming? 

Along with consulting the bus route map, you can track buses in real time with the Passio app.

   

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