City residents can hitch a ride to their suburban jobs beginning next year, thanks to a $100,000 federal transportation grant.
A route with five pick-up points through theSandusky Transit System could be in place by March 2009, public transit administrator Rosanne Bodner said. The grant was awarded in mid-July by the Federal Transit Administration through the Ohio Department of Transportation. The project is part of the Job Access Reverse Commute nationwide program.
Five pick-up sites on the east end, the west end and in the downtown area will be established for those needing rides to and from workplaces located along the Milan Road-U.S. 250 corridor. The most southern stop will be Kalahari Waterpark Resort.
The city will use light transit vehicles that carry14 passengers.
The service can also be used to shuttle city residents to shopping, commercial, and retail destinations in Perkins Township. The cost per ride will be $1.
The vehicles will run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. STS presently does not operate past 6 p.m.
Bodner said the grant is awarded to communities where jobs are leaving urban areas and relocating to suburbs.
"The bottom line is: It's to get people to work," she said. "This is a re-initiation of evening service in Sandusky. It's long been seen that there was a need for evening transportation. There are underserved people in the community. It is a way for people to obtain jobs and get to those jobs."
Most jobs are being created in Perkins Township, and not everyone owns a car, she said. The one-hour loop to the suburbs and back should remedy thesituation for those who need jobs.
The $50,000 in required matching local funds have been pledged by Erie County Jobs and Family Services, Serving Our Seniors and the Sandusky Erie County Community Foundation. "I think it's great," Commissioner Dave Waddington said. It's another tool to keep people in Sandusky instead of leaving," he said.
Public input meetings regarding the new transit program will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Aug. 20 at the city municipal building, 222 Meigs St.