Rate rise spurs volunteer to change transportation
He'll have his wife drop him off instead of paying the higher rate.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Weathersfield Township resident Sheldon Funk, who has been blind since 1999, spends his weekday afternoons volunteering for the American Red Cross in Warren.
Funk, 56, volunteers 20 hours a week and gets there by using the Niles Trumbull Transit System, which picks him up at his home on Sugar Pines Drive, and drops him back there at the end of the day.
But the township's withdrawal from the transit system and a planned rate increase by the system are going to change that routine.
The township decided in October 2004 that it will no longer participate in the transit system because only two township residents were making use of it and it cost the township $8,700 a year to participate.
Niles, Howland, Girard, Liberty, McDonald, Vienna and Cortland still participate in the system.
The system raised rates for people in nonparticipating communities Jan. 1 and will raise them again March 1.
Funk had been paying $1.50 to ride one way on the transit, but that would increase to $8 when the new rates go into effect.
The latest rate increase for the transit system raises rates for travel within the member communities to $2 (currently $1.50 per person) for people 62 and older, anyone with disabilities and youths 2 to 12, and to $4 (currently $3) for the general public.
For travel in other areas of Trumbull County, the rates will be: $4 (currently $3) per one-way trip for those 62 and older, those with disabilities and youths 2 to 12 years of age, and $16 for the general public.
However, for residents of nonparticipating communities, the fares per one-way trip will be: $8 for those 62 years and older, the disabled and youths 2 to 12, and $16 for the general public.
Funk said his solution is having his wife take him to the Red Cross when she is not working.
Funk approached trustees about the problem at their Feb. 17 meeting, and Trustee John Vogel tried to set up a meeting of the most frequent bus riders. But from a list of only eight regular users, and two other infrequent users, he got a call from only one woman who said she has switched to riding the bus and will stay with it because it's less expensive.
Funk is urging residents concerned about the rate increase to attend the trustees meeting at 7 p.m. March 8.