With Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority service to Spencer Township ending Tuesday night, transit riders there will have to adjust their routines.
Spencer Township has arranged with Silver Cab Co. to provide local transportation within the township and connections to the TARTA network via the Meijer bus stop on Central Avenue in Sylvania Township.
Those who ride the current Spencer Township routes between locations outside the township, however, will still have service on TARTA buses.
TARTA’s No. 4 Call-A-Ride bus will continue to serve Sylvania Township, Sylvania, and Ottawa Hills, along with traveling as far into Toledo as Franklin Park mall, the transit authority said. The No. 7 Spencer Express will continue to operate between Meijer, the nearby Walmart store on Central, and downtown Toledo.
Spencer residents voted 269-255 on Nov. 5 to withdraw from the transit authority, a withdrawal that takes effect New Year’s Day and involves both regular-route buses and the Toledo Area Regional Paratransit Service, which provides door-to-door rides for travelers with disabilities.
Curtis Lancaster, the township trustees’ outgoing president, said the service from Silver Cab will follow the same looping route through the township that the TARTA Call-A-Ride now serves, with on-demand pickups and drop-offs elsewhere. Trip reservations may be made up to two weeks in advance, he said.
The township’s contract with Silver Cab is for one year, Mr. Lancaster said.
Clarissa Garcia, a Silver Cab vice president, said the company will have two small buses, one of them wheelchair-accessible, and two cars available for the Spencer Township service. Along with the route within the township, she said, round trips to Meijer and Walmart in Sylvania Township will be scheduled twice daily.
Ms. Garcia said the service will cost the township $2 for each pickup plus $2.30 per mile. Fares charged to riders remain to be determined, she said.
TARTA currently charges a base $1 fare for fixed-route buses and $2 for TARPS rides. Discounts are offered for children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Spencer Township was one of two TARTA member communities to withdraw from the transit agency during an opt-out period established by an Ohio law passed in 2011.
Perrysburg residents passed a withdrawal referendum in March, 2012, and passed a local levy last spring for a replacement local service.
The law that allowed members of any Ohio transit authority funded by a property tax — TARTA is the only such transit authority — to withdraw by referendum vote expired with the Nov. 5 election. Standing Ohio law establishes no specific procedure for transit authority members to withdraw; the past practice was that all members had to agree to any member’s withdrawal, based on state law requiring all transit authority members’ approval of new members.
TARTA’s remaining seven members are Toledo, Ottawa Hills, Sylvania, Sylvania Township, Maumee, Waterville, and Rossford.
Along with the Spencer changes, TARTA will make numerous other schedule adjustments with the issuance of new system-wide timetables on Jan. 5.
The No. 8 Maumee Call-A-Ride bus coverage area will expand to include parts of Heatherdowns Boulevard in South Toledo; the No. 22F Bancroft route will no longer use I-475 and instead make stops along parts of Secor Road, Monroe Street, and Harvest Lane, and the 31G Glendale, 31H Heatherdowns, and 34H Holland Road buses will begin serving the new Kroger supermarket at Reynolds Road and Dussel Drive.
Schedule changes will affect most of the transit authority's other routes, particularly on Sundays.
— David Patch
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