For several months, TARTA and Monroe County-based Lake Erie Transit have offered free transfers between their two systems, but no one has taken them up on it.
In an attempt to boost the interstate connection's visibility, the two transit agencies plan a ceremonial luncheon today in an Erie Township restaurant to “inaugurate” the free transfers - although the restaurant, Angelo's Northwood Villa on Dixie Highway, is not in the Lake Erie Transit service area.
Richard Ruddell, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority's general manager, and Mark Jagodzinski, his Lake Erie Transit counterpart, both said they want to be sure people know that transfers between the two systems have been free since the two transit authorities' boards passed reciprocal resolutions early this year.
But along with a lack of publicity, there may be another reason behind the dearth of interstate transfers: LET operates only twice per day to the three locations where its map connects with TARTA's.
Trips to Northtowne Square mall, the Miracle Mile plaza on Laskey Road, and the Alexis Park strip center on Lewis Avenue are scheduled on weekdays between 10:45 and 11 a.m. and between 2 and 2:20 p.m.
Furthermore, the Lake Erie Transit route offering the connection serves only Bedford Township on the Michigan side of the border. There is no way to connect to LET's other routes in Monroe or Frenchtown Township.
Mr. Jagodzinski said that at least for now his agency is not even considering a link between TARTA and the core LET system in Monroe, though it might later.
“We're always open to any discussion,” he said.
More likely, Mr. Jagodzinski said, is that the Bedford route's schedule will be revised to spread the stop times in North Toledo so that riders who are connecting to or from TARTA could have a longer time for their trips before having to catch the last bus home.
“We are surveying the riders to find out if those stops are the ideal stops and at the ideal times,” Mr. Jagodzinski said. “If there's a need for earlier connections, we'd take a look at that.”
The LET head said he suspects some cross-border riders take the bus one way and have another means of transportation for the other half of their trip.
Mr. Ruddell said he doesn't anticipate losing much revenue from the free transfers, since he doesn't expect a huge volume of passengers to connect between the two systems, “but it could be very useful to a few people.”
And if the availability of free transfers to or from Lake Erie Transit increases the Monroe County system's ridership, “then their level of service may increase to meet the demand,” Mr. Ruddell said.