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WRTA’s EasyGo Curb-to-Curb Service gains in popularity



Published: Mon, December 13, 2010 @ 12:04 a.m.
EASYGO Fast facts

WHAT: EasyGo is a service of the Western Reserve Transit Authority offering curb-to-curb service for Mahoning County residents.

WHERE: Locations within all of Mahoning County. Riders will be able to use EasyGo service only to reach locations not served by WRTA fixed routes

WHO: Anyone in Mahoning County can use EasyGo, including the elderly and disabled.

When : Weekdays between 6 a.m.

and 6 p.m. Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

HOW MUCH: Fares for the service are $3.50 for most passengers and $2.50 for those who are elderly or have a disability.

HOW TO: Scheduling up to seven days prior is encouraged and can be done by calling 877-845-WRTA. First-time EasyGo riders also can register online at http://www.wrtaonline.com/services_easygo_registration.html

Source: WRTA

STORY AND PHOTOS

By Rami Daud

photo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Barbara Altman, 56, entered the bus cheerfully, showing off an armful of Christmas-themed knickknacks, the spoils of two successful games of bingo at Free Methodist Church in New Middletown.

Normally, she would have had to ask a friend or family for a ride or call a cab.

But today her ride lasted only a few minutes. Altman is one of a growing number of riders who use the EasyGo Curb-to-Curb Service.

Started in September 2009, the service’s popularity has “picked up some steam,” said Tom Nugen, director of transportation for the Western Reserve Transit Authority.

Bus driver Lorenzo Wise, 59, said the service is “what the voters wanted,” and Altman, who describes the service as “something for everyone,” agreed. The ability to request a ride for everything from going to a movie with friends to grocery shopping, she said, has given her a greater feeling of independence.

A WRTA driver for the last 27 years, Wise only recently has been filling in for the countywide service. EasyGo’s growing popularity means there is a greater demand for drivers, with 14 new hires since the program began and five drivers currently in training, Nugen said.

“This is a wonderful service for anyone,” Nugen said. “You don’t have to be a senior or have a disability.”

After delivering Altman to her home, Wise picked up a middle-age man from his workplace in Boardman and delivered him to his Ellsworth home. He also picked up a Youngstown State University student who needed a ride to run errands.


Comments

1TAXEDOFF(118 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Isn't this sweet that taxpayers are paying for her to go play bingo.

If she's got money to play bingo she should pay for her own cab fare

Instead of the rest of us taking it up for her

W RTA is the biggest black hole of taxpayers money next to the airport

Suggest removal:

2city_resident(508 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

NoBS, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

TAXEDOFF, don't forget about the roads and highways that we spend billions on each year.

geromajor, isn't the curb-to-curb service the same throughout Mahoning County?

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3city_resident(508 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

As far as I know, the only areas in Mahoning County not served by Easy-go curb-to-curb service, are those areas served by a fixed-route bus. I'm not sure why you feel this isn't so.

The sales tax passed in November 2008. WRTA didn't start receiving funds from that until April 2009. I'm not sure why there was a 5 month delay, but I think the expanded fixed routes had a similar delay.

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4Traveler(606 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

so the government is running its own taxi service what will they get in to next that they dont have any reason to be in.

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5city_resident(508 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I understand what you're saying, NoBS. But if they didn't provide these routes, people would be accusing WRTA of lying during their campaign to pass the sales tax. I'd give it a little more time, anyway. With the increasing cost of gas, more people might find the buses useful.

Also, I'd like to see hard numbers to back up the anecdotal evidence that the suburban buses are always empty. For example, (and I'm just guessing) there may never be more than 5 people on a bus at a time, but the bus may stop to drop off and pick up 50 times between Canfield and Poland. You could rightfully argue that they should be using one of the van buses then. But there is probably a reason we're not aware of, that prevents them from doing so.

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6Traveler(606 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

One must understand that bus systems are a government ran program to help business to get there low paid employees to work. By the government subsidizing mass transit employers don't have to pay their minimum wage employees enough to own a car. Another government welfare program for big business and the poor at the expense of the middle class.

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7najjjj(106 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

What an odd program. I live in a larger metro area, then Youngstown. We have a program called Outreach, but it is for those that cannot drive because of an underlying disability........and forms must be filled out by a Doctor. The service is run by the bus system and Outreach riders must live within a certain distance of a bus route but, unable to use or get to the bus. If you qualify you can use the service to go where ever you need.......as long as it is along service routes. These are also shared rides, they use Prius', minivans, and larger vans for wheelchairs. Stops are usually made to pick up or drop of other passengers........it's rarely just a single rider. It is also not for able bodied people, that's what taxi's are for. I've never heard of anything like EasyGo....sounds wasteful.

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8Allison(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Dear Taxedoff,
First of all, the woman in this article is my mother. She is disabled and cannot drive. Secondly her bingo "winnings" are from a FREE bingo she plays at the senior activity at a church she attends once a month. Knicknacks is what she wins, not money. Third, she PAYS for this ride, $2.50 each way, on her measley $500 per month SSI that she is supposed to LIVE off of. Give me a break. The problem with you people that think this is a waste is that you have never been in the shoes of the people that actually need this service. This service is for everyone, not just the disabled. Gas is $3.00 a gallon. Maybe you should save a little and take the Easy Go on your next trip to the store.

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9najjjj(106 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Allison, Your Mom is exactly the type of person who these services should be directed to. Without it she would be a shut in because of her age and disability. That would not be good for her health, so in the long run programs like these save us money by helping to keep folks healthier in body and mind.

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