TARPS provides services to the mobility challenged
Transit services for persons with disabilities will soon be handled directly by the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.
TARTA’s Board of Trustees voted on June 5, 2008 to bring the operation of the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service directly under TARTA’s control, ending a 19-year operational relationship with what is now known as First Transit, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.
“TARTA is taking this action to improve both service and accountability to the hundreds of mobility-challenged riders who depend on TARPS to move freely within our service area and to reduce TARPS’ operating costs,” said James K. Gee, TARTA’s general manager. “We promise to make the changeover from First Transit to TARTA as seamless and uneventful as possible.”
TARTA officially takes complete control of TARPS on September 30.
Currently, First Transit operates TARPS under contract with TARTA. The paratransit system is housed in a rented facility with all TARPS personnel employed by First Transit. First Transit is responsible for scheduling TARPS.
TARTA provides the funding for TARPS and owns the scheduling system and the specially designed vehicles. After September 30, TARPS operations will function out of TARTA’s Central Ave. headquarters.
Changes and upgrades to TARPS will include the following: new scheduling software will be implemented; TARPS will operate out of its own TARTA-owned facility; TARPS riders will be surveyed periodically about their satisfaction with the service; and to decrease no-shows, the length of time rides can be scheduled in advance will be reduced.
At its May meeting, TARTA’s Board voted to purchase new scheduling software for TARPS. The updated software will feature new maps and is expected to improve the quality of TARPS service. The updated software will be installed beginning next week with implementation expected before the end of August.
TARPS new facility continues moving forward. Environmental studies are concluding at the planned location, near the railroad station at 300 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in south Toledo. Design work is expected to begin shortly.
According to Gee, “TARPS ridership continues to show increased usage. TARPS recorded a 6.6 percent increase, going from 11,060 in May 2007 to 11,794 in May 2008.”
TARTA can be contacted by calling 419-243-RIDE (7433) or visiting its Web site, www.tarta.com.