Leaders to Consider Merging City, County Transportation Systems
By Brandi Makuski
On the heels on a joint dispatch agreement, leaders from Portage County say they’re now ready for a potential joining of transportation systems.
The city’s Transit Director Susan Lemke and Janet Zander, director for the Portage County Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC), proposed the unified transportation system to city leaders Monday night.
The joint program would focus on special needs riders including rural and urban disabled and elderly residents as well as military veterans, placing the call center, billing and other logistics of the program into one entity.
Currently, the ADRC operates in mainly rural areas, transporting residents to medical appointments, shopping, work and other appointments using volunteer drivers. City residents can use Point Plus- a door-to-door transportation service available for those who meet certain Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines qualifications.
In both systems riders must reserve a ride by phone.
Zander and Lemke said combining the systems would bring in more state and federal grant money and expand services to more riders.
Monday’s presentation was informational only, with no action taken. But with city and county preliminary budgets due in October, any changes to the program would need City Council and County Board approval by the end of the summer.
Zander and Lemke will present their proposal to the County Board next week.