The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority will spend more than $1.8 million in "stimulus grant" money to buy 21 small buses, including 11 for its paratransit operations, under contracts the agency's board of trustees approved yesterday.
The board authorized General Manager James Gee to buy 10 G4500 Goshen Coach mini buses and 11 G3500 Goshen Coach mini buses through the state of Minnesota's Cooperative Purchase Program, of which TARTA is a member. The first 10 buses cost $105,000 each and will be used on Call-A-Ride and regular TARTA routes, while the latter 11 cost $75,000 each and will be assigned to the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service.
The buses will be purchased from North Central Bus Sales, St. Cloud, Minn., but set up for service and maintained by TESCO, Inc., of Oregon. Mr. Gee said TARTA used the Minnesota purchasing program because Ohio did not have appropriate vehicles listed through its state cooperative purchasing program, and the buses needed to be obtained quickly in order to meet American Recovery and Revitalization Act deadlines.
"We save a lot of time because they do all the work on bidding," Mr. Gee said.
The new buses should be delivered and hit the streets within six to nine months, he said.
Also, Mr. Gee announced that Muddy Shuttle service for Toledo Mud Hens games at Fifth Third Field now includes three stops on Adams Street to allow restaurant patrons in the UpTown neighborhood to take the bus to games.
Muddy Shuttles originating in the Meijer lot on Alexis Road one hour before game time now will stop on Adams about 15 minutes later before proceeding to the ballpark.
Return trips leave Fifth Third Field 20 minutes after the last out or, in the case of post-game events such as fireworks displays, 20 minutes after all events conclude.
Mr. Gee said the idea for stops on Adams arose when Muddy Shuttle riders complained that bus schedules did not give them enough time before games to eat at restaurants near the ballpark.
A $1 fare is collected on ballpark-bound buses; the return trip is free. Riders do not need to show game tickets to board.
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