Riders frustrated, leaders focused on fix with Trumbull WRTA routes about to end
For Mark Joseph, the WRTA's "Curb-to-Curb" program in Trumbull County has been a lifeline.
"I've been in a wheelchair for about seven years," Joseph says. But with state dollars funding several routes in the county running out, so too could be his lifeline.
"My boss lets me work from home a couple days a week but now I have to work from home seven days a week because I don't have that curb-to-curb piece of it and there's no real bus stop near me," said Joseph. "So that'll probably cost me my job."
In March of 2020, ODOT awarded WRTA a grant for a demonstration of fixed route service in Warren.
The grant expires Friday and ODOT isn't re-upping.
A new agreement with WRTA would cost the county $7 million.
It left county and Warren city officials - along with the WRTA director - scrambling for a fix during two meetings Wednesday.
"It got a little heated," said Warren mayor Doug Franklin. "We agreed on some short term solutions that would probably involve a partnership between the county and the city."
"In an ideal situation, two or three routes out of the five that we were using that we can come up and fund collaboratively with these other communities to make sure that these people are still getting the transportation they need," added commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa.
Commissioners will meet again Thursday to try to pound out a solution; a solution Mark Joseph and a lot of others are counting on.
"I'm sure if I'm stuck, there's a lot of other people that are stuck," said Joseph.