The council is exploring ways to provide rides to Cleveland Clinic.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners are being asked to fill a financial void in senior citizen transportation needs.
Anthony Cario, staff director of the Trumbull County Senior Advisory Council, is asking commissioners to approve $51,000 for 1,700 out-of-county rides through the end of this year.
The money would come from $2.4 million generated annually from the county senior levy.
Cario and Thomas Harwood, chairman of the council’s transportation subcommittee, told commissioners Tuesday the money would be used to pay for limited curb-to-curb service up to a 30-mile radius of Warren.
The proposed contract is with Trumbull Community Action Program, a city social service agency.
Cario explained that senior ridership has surged since May 1, when the county began using levy money for senior riders.
For those using curb-to-curb service, the numbers have increased from 50 to 200 daily.
It has increased from 130 to 200 for those who need assistance in getting in and out of a vehicle.
The gap is caused by those who need rides outside Trumbull County. Cario said it can’t be provided by the Niles-Trumbull Transit System because its federal funding prohibits service outside the county.
Harwood explained that residents in areas near the Trumbull-Mercer County border, such as Brookfield, Hubbard and Masury, tend to receive medical treatment in the Sharon, Pa., area.
At the same time, Liberty and McDonald residents tend to favor treatment in Youngstown and Boardman.
It will cost the county $30 a ride because the driver must wait for the rider who is receiving service, Harwood told commissioners.
The rider would pay $2 each way.
Because of the expense of each trip, Cario noted, rides can’t be used for shopping excursions.
Joan Galloway, head of transportation at TCAP, said the agency has 12 vans and could immediately begin taking passengers out of the county.
Currently, TCAP provides between 290 and 310 local rides daily, Galloway said.
Rides to Cleveland Clinic
Harwood said the advisory council is looking at ways to provide transportation to The Cleveland Clinic.
He said Geauga County provides ridership within a 30-mile radius, which includes the clinic.
“That seems to be working for them [Geauga],” Harwood said, noting that the Geauga bus to the clinic isn’t always full.
What’s being studied, he said, is possibly operating a shuttle for Trumbull seniors to Ravenna in Portage County.
In turn, a bus from Chardon in Geauga would take them to the clinic.