October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Riders hope voters will boost anemic Lorain County Transit

Lorain County Transit buses are parked April 14 in the agency’s garage in Elyria. CHRONICLE FILE

Lorain County Transit buses are parked April 14 in the agency’s garage in Elyria. CHRONICLE FILE

ELYRIA — Lorain resident Alexa sat near a bus stop littered with graffiti on Thursday, her wheelchair piled high with shopping bags. For Alexa, who declined to give her last name, the bus that would pull up almost an hour after she arrived at the stop is her only means of transportation.

“Something has to be done,” Alexa said, adding that the transit system only took her to the Midway Mall and back to her home in Lorain. The route she used to use to get to her frequent hospital appointments has been closed for years.

“It just hurts … I’m grounded,” she said.

However a new levy which will appear on the May ballot might change that.

A proposed 0.065-mill levy, would bring in more than $400,000 a year to support Lorain County Transit. A similar levy lost with 59 percent of the votes against the measure in 2013.

Beverly Beidelman, who is leading the campaign committee for the levy, said the money would be used to improve existing routes with more buses and to add routes. Due to budget cuts in recent years, the once county-wide system has been reduced to two main routes.

“We have to see where the need (for more routes) is going to be … We can do that if the levy passes,” she said.

Many riders, who say that the busses are their only way to get around Lorain and Elyria, agreed that essential aspects of the transit system — including frequency of buses and the number of routes — need to change.

“Sometimes we have to wait an hour (for a bus),” high school student Courtney Welser said. She frequently rides Route 51 from her house to school in Elyria. She said that she and other students rely on the buses. However, she and other high school students said they would like the buses to be cleaner, come more frequently and travel farther around Lorain County.

According to Beidelman, a transit levy could help solve the frequency problem by allowing the county to invest in more buses to add to existing routes.

“It would create a better turnaround time … they can’t do that without money,” Beidelman said.

Some transit riders are wary of whether the levy can improve the transit system conditions.

“Are they going to do it? They’ve promised before,” Alexa said, questioning whether the money from the levy would be used to add more buses and routes.

For Beidelman, who remembers the budget cuts that left the transit system with fewer, less frequent routes, the chance to improve public transportation is long overdue.

“There’s an opportunity to make a difference … we’re helping every other county out there instead of our own,” she said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • Janet Rogers

    So what number issue is this under. So I can vote on this. I need to use the bus to also get around and it so hard to do so , now that it is almost nothing. I used to ride the bus when you could get almost anywhere you needed to And really miss that.

    • Simon Jester

      So… you’re too lazy to look the issue up, and you want the rest of us to pay for your ride?

      • SniperFire

        beats workin

        • LOLOLOL

          Should be an Indians player, Am I right LOL

    • Pablo Jones

      It’s issue 13.

      • oldruss

        And it’s a PROPERTY TAX INCREASE.
        Make it a sales tax, at least, so everybody gets to share the pain.

        • Sue Lawson

          I agree.

      • Janet Rogers

        Thanks

  • Mark B

    Let those who use the buss pay for it , the burden should not be put on the property owner !

    • LAB1660

      Or, like Cuyahoga County, put a 1% sales tax increase. Cuyahoga’s 1% was voted in July of 1975 and they have never come back to the people for anything else. Nobody wants to be taxed for what they don’t use. I would love for Lorain County Transit to service my area in Columbia Station, but it doesn’t. You’re right, why should I support it with real estate taxes? The way Cuyahoga County has it, you could make sure you made all of your purchases in a county that doesn’t have the sales tax. Can’t do your car, though, because it is county of registration, not county of purchase. I got duped on that in 1976 when I bought a car in Lake County.

    • jj

      Great idea, I don’t have any children, so I also shouldn’t have to pay for yours to go to school. Let those who use the schools pay for them.

      • Mark B

        couldn’t agree more

      • Rtgh123

        I’m more than willing to pay taxes for future generations of children to get an education so that they aren’t as ignorant as you.

        • jj

          It’s called sarcasm, maybe you’ve heard of it.

      • Sue Lawson

        I agree too.

  • Sis Delish

    “The route she used to use to get to her frequent hospital appointments has been closed for years.”

    Needing the Bus to get to the Hospital suggests that the means for paying for Medical Care is there, but not the means for getting to the Medical Care…

    hmmmm… gotta think hard on this one… is Transportation a “right” now?

    • LAB1660

      Transportation is a necessity if you are disabled, and private service is hard to find, too. Those who cannot drive are at a disadvantage, whether or not we believe we should pay for their transportation. Put it on as a sales tax and you will have a better control where you spend your money for taxable goods.

      • Mark B

        pay for a buss ticket

      • SniperFire

        ‘ Put it on as a sales tax ‘

        This just in. The freeloaders won’t vote for a sales tax. They want the other guy to pay for stuff.

    • Carrie Watson

      If she uses a wheelchair, she should have some kind of insurance, possibly Medicaid and/or Medicare. If she has Medicaid, she should be able to get Provide A Ride. As for issues 2 and 3 in Elyria, I am a homeowner, and after June 6, I won’t have any relatives in the Elyria schools. Will I continue to support the school levy? You bet! How we educate our kids impacts ALL of us, whether we want to accept that or not. I’m pretty sure we all use the library, or at least, a lot of us do. I’m going to support that too. I will also support any mental health levies, even though I don’t use mental health services for myself, because we have to have those services.

      • Simon Jester

        A noble, if brainless sentiment.

        Let’s stop assuming that every time one of these services begs for money that they’re using it responsibly. You see a levy or renewal and vote for it, “Because we have to have those services”.

        Maybe these services should make cuts and work within a budget, like normal, non goverment entities. You know, instead of begging for higher taxes EVERY. SINGLE. ELECTION.

      • Sis Delish

        While you are at it, you may as well pay My Share of anything you are going to Vote For, ’cause I ain’t.

  • TheRustyScupper

    People who use the bus should pay for it. The remainder of the county should not subsidize. Government doesn’t need to support everything and/or everybody. (108 million Americans receive welfare or other subsidies, while only 101 million American work. Time for a change.)

    • Carrie Watson

      I agree with the part of your statement where there shouldn’t be more people receiving welfare than people working. I’m one of the 101 million.

      • Simon Jester

        Only a Democrat or a Liar points out his “workforce creds” to push more taxes.

    • Mark B

      Should the 108 that is not working be able to vote in taxes for the working 101 to pay ?

  • oldruss

    I have asked this previously, but have not had anyone connected with the Levy Committee, or with LCT respond.

    How many actual, paying, riders does LCT have, on average, per day?
    Whenever I see an LCT bus going past, it is virtually empty. If the ridership is not there, isn’t this just another way to take tax dollars from the taxpayer and give it out as welfare disguised as public transportation?

    • LAB1660

      The same sentiment goes for what gets hired at GCRTA in Cuyahoga County as to the redistribution of tax monies in lieu of welfare.

    • It has to stop

      I don’t know about the average rider per day but it is about 3 percent of Lorain County residents who use the transit.

      • oldruss

        Not to be argumentative, but if you don’t know the average number of riders per day, how can you say that 3% of the residents use the transit? I want some real numbers, not just somebody’s guess work.

        • Pablo Jones

          In Toledo they didn’t / don’t know the numbers either. Even using the numbers they do provide, which are hardly accurate, the cost per ride is around $20.

        • It has to stop

          This was a number that Commissioner Tom Williams posted on his Facebook page a while back. If you want to know the daily riders I suggest you ask him.

          • oldruss

            I’m publicly asking here on the Chronicle Telegram, and I am still waiting for an answer from the proponents of this additional tax, or an answer from the LCT. How are voters supposed to make an informed decision about this levy without real numbers? The bottom line is that they cannot, and so should vote NO on this levy.

  • Mark B
  • Brian_Reinhardt

    Remember when LCT bolted those bike racks on the fronts of the buses costing thousands?

    I agree with most peoe here. Let the ridership pay.

    I also don’t understand the need for a 15 passenger bus when I really only see 2 or 3 people on them at a time.

    Trade those gas hogs in on something more efficient and sensible.

  • Pablo Jones

    “However, she and other high school students said they would like the buses to be cleaner,”

    Does it cost more than the 5 minutes it would take to have the driver sweep out the bus?

    But that speaks levels about this government service. The people trash the buses and the drivers don’t care to clean the buses. How about those LCT employees that are salary how about they take some time out of their busy day of scheduling routes that don’t exist and clean the buses?

    And as some one else said how about they migrate from minibuses to something more fuel efficient. Isn’t Ford making some kind of transit vehicle that could carry 6 people and get 30 or more MPG.

  • Simon Jester

    I want hard numbers as to how many people actual use LCT.

    I’m imagining if we had the true number of riders, the costs would be thousands or tens of thousands per person to provide a crappy, inconsistent bus ride.

    At which point, life isn’t fair, and that tiny number of people aren’t entitled to a free ride to the mall to spend money they didn’t earn are SOL.

    No, I don’t care about the disabled person in the above article. it’s a straw man at this point.

  • SniperFire

    ‘She said that she and other students rely on the buses. However, she and other high school students said they would like the buses to be cleaner, come more frequently and travel farther around Lorain County.’

    Did she and other students volunteer their time to clean up the buses and graffiti? No? Probably never crossed their minds.

  • ekwaykway

    With all this fear of climate change, shouldn’t we all be prepared to ride public transportation? Isn’t the environment more important? If we want are children, grandchildren, saved from the rising sea levels. We gotta do something. Right?

    • Mark B

      Climate Change is a hoax to make us all pay higher energy costs so Al Gore can continue to Jet Set all around the world profiting off of Climate Change. America is 5% of the world population , we could all stop using all energy tomorrow and it would make no difference.

      • ekwaykway

        Polar ice is melting in measurable amounts every year. Greendland for example is losing record amounts. Sea levels are rising as we saw in Sandy, and Great Britain flooding recently. I agree Mark, just the US participating is not enough in decreasing greenhouse emissions. It suprised me that public transportation is being ripped on this message board. We need to find answers to using renewable alternative enegery sources. Don’t we?

        • kiddingme

          you’re wasting your time. he heard it on faux news from his media overlords, so he’ll repeat it. he doesn’t really know anything about the topic, obviously. His writing “pay higher energy costs so Al Gore . . . ” is all you need to see really.

          • ekwaykway

            I’m not a climatologist or claim to be an expert on the subject. However, using oil by driving personal cars as opposed to buses or trains is a no brainer. We have been spoiled for so long. Some little things can help alot, planting trees for example. I planted three trees ten years ago in my front yard. Trees take time to grow. But if we all participate, the results can be beneficial.

          • Pablo Jones

            And guess what happens when those leaves fall or the trees die and rot. All that wonderful CO2 they pulled out gets released back into the air as CO2 and methane.

          • ekwaykway

            So don’t plant trees, right Pablo? You convinced me. Case closed, the expert has spoken.

          • Pablo Jones

            You can do whatever you want. But if you think planting trees will save the world from global warming you are just fooling yourself.

            Besides I like trees without them I couldn’t have all my nice fires outside during the summer.

          • ekwaykway

            Yes, I believe planting trees will solve climate change you said earlier you don’t think even exists. ( sarcasm ) if you don’t get. I suspect you do not know how to understand sarcasm. Because you haven’t in the past.

          • Simon Jester

            Quite, adults are talking.

        • Mark B

          Actually , the polar ice is increasing , do some research and not just repeat what the Hoaxters are telling you.

          • ekwaykway

            I’m not an expert and don’t claim to be. But fossil fuels are not infinite. Why not start at least to curb that now? I’m not getting into an argument about climate change, but some things make sense, don’t they?

          • Pablo Jones

            Solar energy isn’t infinite either, neither is wind, nor geothermal.

          • ekwaykway

            No kidding, really, the sun is not infinite? Blah, blah, blah, whatever Pablo. I’m not infinite either. You do whatever you feel is right. Many people feel riding a bus is beneath them too. Buses are way more fuel efficent today, duh.

          • kiddingme

            wrong. again. “do some research” – i can’t tell if you’re joking or serious, but coming from you that’s pretty funny.

        • Pablo Jones

          How does driving heavy polluting mass transit buses around with hardly anyone in them save the environment? We often hear that with out them people would have to stay at home. Wouldn’t that be better if the people stayed at home instead of traveling?

          • ekwaykway

            Buses are more fuel efficient today. I don’t know how to get more people to use buses. Maybe because today they are not an option.

          • Pablo Jones

            I don’t doubt they are more fuel efficient than 20 years ago. But even if they get 30 mpg, it still isn’t efficient to drive a route with no one on the bus. And it isn’t efficient to drive a person through the entire route loop just to go a stop or 2 upstream. How many gallons of fuel are they burning each day per person that rides.

          • ekwaykway

            Are cars more fuel efficent today than they were twenty years ago? If you say no, conversation over dude, I’m done. As far as the article is concered, I agree. Running empty buses is a waste of money. Although mass transportation is not a bad thing.

        • Pablo Jones

          I always love weather/global warming stories. Often they will say how bad the current condition is and that it (temperature, sea level, snow fall, drought, hurricanes, etc., etc.) hasn’t been this bad in X amount of years. What I always wonder is if it was like this in the past, what caused it back then.

          Great Britain has flooded in the past. Greenland has had less ice in the past. What is new.

          • ekwaykway

            Sorry, I didn’t know you are a climate expert. Well, what do you propose smart guy? Just keep kicking the can down the road eh? Thats real smart.

          • Pablo Jones

            Well I actually have a degree in science which makes me more qualified than the majority of the people that speak on this subject.

            CO2 makes up less than 1/10th of 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Of that small amount .83% is man made. So in other words .000775% of the atmosphere is man made CO2. This tiny bit that man produces is dwarfed by what the Earth produces and consumes. On some years the Earth absorbs much more CO2 than is produced and other years it absorbs less. And there is no control or understanding of this process. It can absorb less for thousands of years in a row or over produce for thousands of years. There is nothing we can do that will affect it and our tiny contribution is insignificant.

            Then we have the statistical issues with the data. We have far too few data points to accurately model anything regarding global climate let alone understand the cyclical swings in temperature.

            What we need to do is make sure our water ways are clean and not dumping toxic pollutants into the environment. Those are things we can control and have an affect on the life on this planet. Worrying about CO2 is pointless, like standing on beach blowing trying to divert a hurricane.

          • ekwaykway

            Water is important, gotcha. As far as saving the planet goes, it’s not the planet that needs to be saved. Your degree qualifies you to speak on climate change. End of conversation.

          • Mark B

            Don’t speak intelligently with facts , you will be accused of watching fox news

          • Simon Jester

            So you’re saying that my truck has been idling all day in a futile effort to make the temperature go up?

            Heresy! EVERYONE knows anthropogenic global warming is a thing. Al Gore said so… and stuff… ;)

          • Pablo Jones

            It’s on the internet it must be true. Even more true if it is on facebook.

          • Simon Jester

            “The problem with quotes on the Internet, is that it is hard to verify their authenticity” -Abraham Lincoln

        • Simon Jester

          Short answer; no.

          The models are flawed, and the “science” involved is far too politicized to be taken seriously.

          Ever see what happens to those models when a volcano erupts? Humans couldn’t duplicate that with every person on the planet owning (insert evil gas hogging SUV of your choice).

          Correspondingly, everyone could drive a Prius and the only change it would make is the vast increase of heavy metal pollution.

          • ekwaykway

            I agree Simon, the Prius pollutes more because the raw materials are mined in Canada, shipped to Europe for processing, then to China, then to Japan. I drive a four banger to save money on gas. I simply feel if mass transit can be cheaper than owning a vehicle, I’m all for it. Just my opinion.

          • Simon Jester

            Nothing wrong with that, it just doesn’t work here. Mass transit isn’t an American thing.

            Europe, on the other hand, has it down. That said, it’s smaller, and population density is higher. It’s efficient there, and makes sense. Mass Transit only works in big cities here, and I say that grudgingly. It sort of works, compared to the euro model.

  • Pablo Jones

    How about a vote to raise the fare of a TARTA ride. Determine how much it will have to go up to be self sufficient and let the residence of Lorain County vote for it. I’ll bet it will pass.

    • SniperFire

      People to pay their own way? You must have a sense of humor.

    • Simon Jester

      This assumes that the same people that blindly vote for “d” or “r” will actually read the ballot issue.

      You know, instead of those (mostly ignorant) that vote for something “because we have to have those services”

  • LOLOLOL

    I would rather our tax dollars go to something like this as opposed to countless dollars being poured into those last place loser teams.

    This way we actually see a return

    • oldruss

      What Lorain County property tax supports “those last place loser teams?”

      • LOLOLOL

        Ever hear of that minor league sports team in Avon.

        Guess who paid for that.

      • golfingirl

        Lake Erie Crushers finished in first place last year.

        The 2014 season has not even started.

        Last place?……When?

    • golfingirl

      Lake Erie Crushers finished in first place last season.

      The 2014 season has not even started.

      Last place?……When?

  • GreatRedeemer

    It’s little dated, but I note that many of the other transit
    authorities have minimal local dollar participation and some with 6 figure
    contract dollars. LCT has no contract dollars.

    https://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/Transit/Documents/Programs/Publication/StatusOfPublicTransitinOhio2012.pdf

    Frankly, without some plan on how exactly this money would
    be spent and the costs to do so, I have
    no inkling to support it.

  • Phil Blank

    I noticed last week that on 4th and Re7d, they removed the bus shelter, the ones where all the windows were broken out, it looked bad.
    There is a reason they took it out, voting.

  • Joey Lee

    Here in Canton, SARTA uses a 1/4 of 1% sales tax to fund SARTA. Fixed route service is ran by a hodge podge of different buses in varying lengths on 38 routes. Including the route 4 bus that travels to and from Cleveland via the Wade Park VA Clinic. The cost per passenger trip for fixed route buses is about $8.76 (that is the cost SARTA would have to charge to break even). The cost per passenger trip for Paratransit (known locally as proline) is some where in the area of 27 bucks a trip. Now SARTA only charges $1.50 for one way on fixed route with a free transfer and for paratransit $2.25 for a one way trip. A sales tax yes would be more “fair” in many aspects, but to be fair to LCT riders they do pay a higher cost for there one way trip. More importantly the highest in the state which is $3.35 a trip! Now considering there is only 4 routes ran by two buses on a 12 hour day they would only need 3 or 4 drivers and one sitting in the wings on the extra board. Using Paratransit vans for the poor excuse for service is the best bet, only problem is the vans are only 6 year buses under the FTA. Anyway the cost per passenger trip can not be that much for the level of serivce they provide. And remember by Federal law any public transit must provide paratransit serivce up to 3/4 mile on either side of a fixed route. The paratransit service is usually the bulk of any transit systems budget. And with the so called “silver tsunami” that problem will only compounded by the increase in clients for this service. I’m done rambling…hope this made some sense.

  • golfingirl

    Approximately 10%-15% of the cost of operating LCT is covered by revenue from paying riders.

    Want to ride a bus, instead of taking on the much larger financial commitment of car ownership, then pay for it.

    I agree there should be some allowance given to those who are disabled, elderly etc, but for those who can pay the fare, raise it to cover all the costs, and make them pay.

    When did transit become a right in this country? It is simply another government service some feel is owed them.

    Just add it to the list of the other hundred items people now feel they are entitled to.