Commuting on I-475 from Sylvania to Arrowhead Park in Maumee might be a pain, but apparently it's not bad enough to get commuters onto TARTA buses.
Less than two months after starting it, Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority officials have decided to scrap the No. 6 express route between two Sylvania park-and-ride lots and the Maumee industrial and business park because of low ridership.
But that doesn't mean TARTA is giving up on Arrowhead business. The last run for the existing No. 6 on Aug. 24 will be followed by the Aug. 27 startup of an express route from downtown Toledo to the commercial center on Maumee's western edge.
The new express route is intended to serve “inner-city individuals who do not have transportation and who want to work in Arrowhead Park,” Richard Ruddell, the transit authority's general manager, told the TARTA board of trustees yesterday.
Begun June 11, the Sylvania-Arrowhead Express has failed to attract more than a rider or two to any of its two morning runs south from Sylvania and two return trips from Arrowhead in the afternoon, Mr. Ruddell said.
“The traffic, while it looks bad, isn't bad enough to get people out of their cars and into the bus,” the transit chief said. The availability of ample free parking at Arrowhead businesses probably didn't help TARTA's case, he said.
The Toledo-Arrowhead Express will run from the downtown bus loop to the industrial park three times in the morning and return three times in the afternoon. No intermediate stops are planned.
Mr. Ruddell said the intent is for patrons to transfer between the express service and buses serving their neighborhoods at loop stations.
Also during the board meeting, transit authority staff demonstrated the function of electronic fare boxes that were placed in service on TARTA buses Monday.
The machines count coins automatically and beep when a full 85-cent fare is collected, which the transit authority expects will reduce delays related to drivers having to count money in the old fare boxes. So far, the biggest problem has been with riders who, following old habits, stick folded-up dollar bills in the machines' coin slots, which jams them. The new fare boxes have separate dollar-bill receivers that display the bills to the driver.