TRUMBULL COUNTY Transit system to run in black

Revenue rose in March because of a fare increase.
NILES -- Thanks in part to an increase in fares and federal funding, the Niles-Trumbull Transit System is expected to operate in the black this year.
Numbers produced during the NTTS advisory committee's quarterly meeting Friday show that the organization is $116,000 in the red, but the debt is expected to be erased with the arrival of $270,000 in federal money.
"Plus we also will have about $30,000 that will be coming to us from participating communities," said Mark Hess, development coordinator for the city of Niles.
The NTTS is primarily supported with funds from the Federal Transit Authority and money from the participating communities, although revenue from fares also is needed.
"We will operate in the black and that is good news," said Terry Thomas, president of the Community Bus Service Inc.
Each participating community pays $1 per resident.
Rising rates
NTTS increased its fares in March. Passengers, 62 and older, in participating communities noticed a 50-cent increase and are now required to pay $2 per one-way trip. Other residents in participating communities are now required to pay $4 instead of $3 for the one-way ride.
Fares for residents of nonparticipating communities that are not subsidizing the cost of the transit service now pay $8 one-way for people 62 and older, and $16 one-way for the general public.
The fare increase has borne fruit. In February NTTS collected $17,040 and in March total fares were $20,934.50, despite the fact there were 300 fewer trips, NTTS records show.
Despite the increase, the system is still very popular, said Kathy Baltes of Community Bus Services.
She noted that they always try to work with residents, even those who can't always afford the service.
"We try and work something out," Baltes said. She noted that for many older residents, the service is the only means of transportation they have.
Christine Creatore, who is with the Center of Dialysis Care, told officials during the meeting that the service is wonderful for the patients. She noted drivers are punctual and pick up patients at their door and bring them to the center.

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