Problems exist with local transit

DEAR EDITOR:

Diane Siskowic-Jurkovic’s job as administrator of the Trumbull County Senior Levy funds is to ensure they are being spent efficiently and effectively. She is not trying to shut down transportation services and Terry Thomas of Community Bus Service, or CBS, should be ashamed for saying so.

Whether reimbursement to CBS is based on actual miles or gross charge per trip is irrelevant. The cost of the current system at $60 per trip is exorbitant. Competition is needed to ensure competitiveness. Costs in the past were high compared with other cities.

The average cost per ride in 2010 was $32.66, in 2011, $29.08 and in 2012, $38.57.

Ms. Siskowic-Jurkovic previously met with commissioners to have CBS explain its expenditures to no avail. When a large grant was awarded to CBS from Senior Levy money, it promised an improvement in service. When the bus service of Office of Elderly Affairs was given to CBS, it made a promise to maintain service. That has not been seen by the community.

All that is being asked is to provide the facts. I feel there is a need for a full accounting of the money spent by CBS. If it can’t provide minimum accountability, we must look elsewhere to improve service and costs.

As it is now, the system barely serves the community’s needs. Go to any senior housing building and ask residents to list their greatest needs. Transportation tops the list. It has been said that CBS rarely gets a complaint, but that is because these citizens are frustrated with a lack of response to their concerns.

There needs to be a transportation levy passed, not just for the seniors but for all citizens. It is ridiculous for a person to take a cab to work for minimum wage. If you want economic development in Trumbull County, you must get people to work. One bus going up U.S. Route 422 is not enough. A smaller bus on regular routes through cities and suburbs is needed to augment the system is one idea.

Ms. Siskowic-Jurkovic is not trying to kill transportation in Trumbull County. She is trying to get the best system for our taxes. Why doesn’t the advisory board get out and meet with the people? Don’t tag a transportation levy to the Senior Levy, either. The Senior Levy should pay its fair share of course, but not pay for services not directly tied to seniors.

I have been on various committees in the past concerning senior transportation, yet our questions and recommendations are not answered. Why is it so difficult to get an accounting of our tax dollars from Terry Thomas, CBS and the Trumbull County commissioners?

DAVID RAACH

Warren

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