The proposed bus service would transport any township resident anywhere within 90 minutes for a nominal fee.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LIBERTY -- If all goes as planned, door-to-door public transit should be just a phone call away by year's end.
Township trustees passed a resolution Monday to make a contribution of up to $13,500 for a one-year period to a "demand response" bus service that would be based in Niles and serve several Trumbull County communities.
All township residents will be able to call 24 hours in advance and request door-to-door round trip service, said Darlene St. George, township administrator.
Riders could use the system, which will be coordinated by the city of Niles, to go anywhere within 90 minutes one way, even as far away as Cleveland, she said.
Fee schedules: Proposed fares are $3 within one's local community, $6 elsewhere in Trumbull County, and $9 for trips outside the county, she said. The service will be governed by a board with representation from each member community on it.
The service would have a first year budget of $1,080,000, of which the Trumbull County commissioners have pledged $120,000; participating localities are to provide $120,000 each; the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, $240,000; all to match the federal government's $600,000 contribution.
Besides Liberty and Niles, participating localities would be Warren, Howland and Girard.
The resolution says Trumbull County is the largest Ohio county without its own public transit system. "This has been something that I think has been a big void ...," St. George said.
What's there now: Youngstown-based Western Reserve Transit Authority has a scheduled daily bus route serving the Girard, Niles, and Warren corridor along U.S. Route 422 and ending at the Kent State University Trumbull Branch in Champion, together with several scheduled daily bus routes running up Belmont Avenue to Liberty Plaza.
"The bus lines that are running up and down Belmont Avenue have a route. And if you're going someplace not on the route, what do you do?" St. George said. "There are a lot of people who can't walk from a bus stop to something else, or they don't feel comfortable doing it."
St. George thinks Trumbull County needs a broader service.