WAYNE COUNTY, OHIO, June 16, 2020 — The public is invited to participate in an in-depth countywide survey to explore the feasibility of extending and enhancing public transit service in Wayne County.
The Wayne County Commissioners, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), and other entities are looking into the possibility of securing a grant from the State of Ohio. If approved, it will provide on-demand ride-share service across the county.
The commissioners are encouraging citizens to get involved in the planning process by taking the survey. They have stated previously that the project must make sense fiscally for all partners, including the private sector and that participating in the study will aid in the analysis to determine the best path forward.
Captain Doug Hunter of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department pointed out recently that transportation impacts the justice system as well. "People without transportation miss court dates, he said. "If we can get them to court, that will alleviate the need to issue failure to appear warrants and arrest them, which takes up space in the jail."
In 2017, nearly 10% of households in Wayne County were zero-car households. Wayne County is also home to three colleges and a large Amish population.
Kirt Conrad, CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA), said that discussions with Wayne County officials about expanding the transit service have been taking place for more than a decade.
"What makes a difference now is the state is encouraging the expansion of, and making funding available, for rural transit," he said.
He (Conrad) indicated that the goal is to fill in gaps in existing transportation services.
Unlike in the more urban counties, Wayne County's senior population is not concentrated, except in areas of Wooster with specific senior living communities. This wide distribution of the senior population suggests that many are aging in place, and may indicate an increasing need for more door-to-destination service as the population ages over the next several years, according to an early analysis by SARTA.
A link to the survey can be found below.
Dan Starcher is a public communications specialist for the Wayne County government.