Public transportation options aren’t meeting the needs of the area’s most vulnerable residents, according to one group trying to fill in some of those gaps.
MOVE Lorain County, or Mobility and Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy, was established in 2016 by area officials including Oberlin City councilwoman Sharon Pearson, county commissioner Matt Lundy, and former commissioner Betty Blair.
The group held its first public meeting in southern Lorain County Aug. 1 at the LCCC Wellington Center.
A survey meant to gauge residents’ needs is underway and runs through Aug. 15. It can be found at www.goo.gl/kmSSV9.
You can also answer questions by calling Pearson at 440-707-6477 or emailing email@example.com.
Results will be used to create what MOVE is calling a coordinated transportation plan, which will be submitted to the state in hopes of expanding Lorain County’s options and an avenue toward federal funds over the next five years.
Helping seniors, those with disabilities, and residents in lower income brackets has been MOVE’s main focus.
For many residents living paycheck to paycheck, a broken down car can lead to sudden financial ruin, Pearson said — and owning and maintaining a car can prove to be quite difficult for anyone making under $15 an hour.
“Once you factor in payments, insurance, and maintenance, a car can cost you around $9,000 a year,” she said. “Data also shows the cost of transportation is higher in rural areas as opposed to urban areas. We just want to ask people what they want and what they need.”
Establishing a volunteer network of drivers is one idea Pearson plans to put before state officials.
Other initiatives discussed have involved biking, ride sharing, and car sharing.
In 2016, MOVE lobbied county commissioners to dedicate revenue from a 0.25 percent sales tax increase to expanding Lorain County Transit busing services, but that effort failed.
LCT bus routes have not reached Wellington since at least 2008, according to Pearson.
“We don’t want this to be a rural vs. urban discussion,” Pearson said. “Southern Lorain County is a different world compared to an Avon Lake. The issue of mobility is vital in a healthy economy and society and that should apply to all residents.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.