Meeting addresses public transportation


Fine-tuning underway to give county residents a bigger bang for their bucks

By Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer



BUCYRUS — Seneca-Crawford Area Transit is still very much a work in progress.

But with help from the Ohio Department of Transportation and RLS & Associations, Inc., SCAT and the Crawford County Council on Aging are working to provide more efficient transportation options for Crawford County residents.

SCAT is a door-to-door, curb-to-curb transportation organization that provides local — as well as out-of-county trips — to Seneca and Crawford county residents. SCAT provides transportation for all needs: medical, social, shopping, bank service, etc.

RLS & Associates is a firm that provides transportation management and operations consulting services to transportation providers throughout the United States. It is compiling data from SCAT and the council on aging and combining it with recent surveys of public transportation users, county employers and the entire community to make SCAT more helpful.

ODOT is making available software that will allow SCAT and the council on aging to view each other’s schedule to avoid duplicate trips.

In a public hearing Thursday at the Crawford County Courthouse, employers in Crawford County talked of how difficult it is to keep employees who are not able to afford to provide their own transportation. Coming up with solutions to that problem appears to be a priority. Many workers have trouble getting to work and home from work, especially when they work second and third shifts, which is affecting the ability of local companies to grow and prosper.

A survey of county employers showed that 71 percent of respondents believe employees would use public transportation if available. Some employers said they would even be willing to pay for some of the fees association with using public transportation to get back and forth from work.

Until Jan. 1, 2016, the council on aging provided public transportation to county residents. But a lot of service requests were denied because they couldn’t be accommodated by just one company. Enter SCAT, which had been providing public transportation for Seneca County.

Crawford County Council on Aging has since changed its focus to transporting senior citizens and county residents with disabilities in and around the county.

SCAT provides transportation services to all residents.

For more information, check out the SCAT website at http://senecascat.org/ or the Crawford County Council on Aging website at http://crawfordcountyaging.com/ or the website of RLS & Associates at http://rlsandassoc.com/

The need for tranportation in the county is greatest daily between 8 a.m. and noon and 3 to 6 p.m. But there is a need for public transportation when second and third shifts start and end for workers.

The goal of RLS & Associates is to help the two entities better serve the community fine-tuning route times and locations, basically to make sure the community gets the best bang for its buck.

Information is being compiled about routes, trip denials, employment needs and more to help the two agencies better coordinate services.

Avita Health’s opening of the Ontario facility means more county residents need rides to and from the mall for medical reasons.

The options for public transportation are pretty much endless. But you can only supply the routes and vehicles and services that the community is willing to support.

One way to do that is to make the public aware of the services public transportation can provide and the positive things it can do for a community.

There also are ways to increase funding. As SCAT is a non-profit, there are opportunities for groups or individuals to leave money to the organization in wills, etc. There are advertising possibilities. One of the county’s largest employers may be thinking of helping to pay for or donating a van for use by SCAT. If something like that happens, the name and logo of the employer could appear as advertising on the van it supplies or helps to pay for.

For more information, check out the SCAT website at http://senecascat.org/ or the Crawford County Council on Aging website at http://crawfordcountyaging.com/ or the website of RLS & Associates at http://rlsandassoc.com/

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2017/05/web1_SCAT-logo.jpg
Fine-tuning underway to give county residents a bigger bang for their bucks

By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer

Email Russ Kent with comments or story ideas at rkent@civitasmedia.com

Email Russ Kent with comments or story ideas at rkent@civitasmedia.com