County-wide public transit service launches

County-wide public transit service launches

Image Credit: Dan Starcher

Community Action Wayne/Medina (CAWM) and the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) recently launched Wayne County Transit (WCT) — a safe, affordable, and convenient county-wide public transit service.

The transit service is open to all Wayne County residents Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. until midnight.

“WCT meets the demonstrated need for county-wide public transportation,” CAWM President and CEO Melissa Pearce said. “Residents who once faced mobility challenges will now be able to travel to work, medical appointments, government offices, stores, senior centers, and hundreds of other destinations in Wayne County.

"I am confident WCT will significantly improve and enhance the quality of life in our community, and I would like to thank the Wayne County Commissioners and SARTA for working with us to create and operate the new service.”

Wayne County resident Beth Beatty was one of the first passengers on the system and plans to keep using the service in the future. Beatty inherited a genetic condition 5-years ago that impacted her vision to the point that she could no longer pass a driver’s license vision test.

“I suddenly had to figure out how I was going to live my life and remain independent,” she said. “Transportation equals independence,” Beatty and having more transportation options gives more opportunities to everyone.”

Beatty decided to become involved in the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) and advocate for county-wide transportation for all Wayne County residents. She currently serves as a co-chair of the committee.

“I will probably use it mostly for leisure trips, shopping, and going out socially,” Beatty continued. “But there are people who will use it to get to work and medical appointments, and that is going to benefit them so much.”

SARTA CEO Kirt Conrad said his award-winning, nationally recognized agency was eager to lend its experience and expertise to the project.

“Across Ohio, and particularly in rural areas, the lack of mobility is a barrier to self-sufficiency, job creation, and economic growth,” he said. “I believe WCT will break down that barrier by delivering the safe, affordable, reliable, and convenient mobility services the people of Wayne County want, need, and deserve.”

CAWM and SARTA released the following information about Wayne County Transit:

—All Wayne County residents may use WCT.

—Service will be available Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to midnight. Trips must be scheduled in advance.

—WCT is a shared ride service so passengers may ride with others who are traveling in the same general direction. In addition, drivers may make multiple pickups and drop-offs during each trip.

—All WCT vehicles are ADA-compliant and will accommodate personal mobility devices including wheelchairs.

—The one-way fare of $2.50 may be paid with exact change on the bus or via EZfare, SARTA’s free mobile ticketing smartphone app.

—Residents are required to register with CAWM before using WCT. Registration forms may be obtained by calling 330-264-8677 and also are available online at www.cawm.org. When the registration process is complete, residents will receive a WCT client ID number that will enable them to schedule rides.

—Request for reservations should be received three to four days in advance of the day the trip is needed.

—Residents who start using the service for work trips will receive free trips to and from work for their first 20 days riding on the service.

Funding for WCT is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and various local contracts.

For more information, contact SARTA Customer Service at 330-477-2782, Option 2, or CAWM at 330-264-8677.

Dan Starcher is a public communications specialist for the Wayne County government.