BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee Chamber of Commerce members were able to see into the future with TARTA at the March 14 chamber luncheon.
Laura Koprowski, CEO of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority, discussed what’s next for TARTA and how thousands of residents in Northwest Ohio will benefit from advancements in the industry.
TARTA staff members and the board have looked closely at how to improve existing services, Koprowski explained to the chamber members.
Chamber members were able to see how TARTA Flex connects residents in Lucas County and the city of Rossford and how it works alongside the other TARTA services.
TARTA Flex has three micro-transit zones: North-west Zone, Southwest Zone and Rossford Zone. Customers can use the on-demand service to move about the community in cars, rather than buses or larger vehicles, for $3.00 one way as long as they remain in a single micro-transit zone. Transfers between zones are also $3.00.
“We are really excited about being able to introduce this service,” Koprowski said. “The zone that Maumee is in includes the airport, Waterville, Whitehouse, Monclova Township and Springfield Township. We run seven days a week and holidays.”
In addition to TARTA Flex, more options outside of the traditional buses and fixed routes exist with a vanpool.
“This is a partnership we have with Enterprise and, as a business or employer, if you have workforce transportation needs, you could lease a van through Enterprise and we can work with you where you can design really your own vanpool share or rideshare service for your employees,” Koprowski said.
The Commute With Enterprise program allows companies and employees to solve commuter problems and get around their community, Koprowski explained.
TARPS, the paratransit service, is another one of TARTA’s offerings. The service allows riders with disabilities to access the community using buses with lifts and ramps, Koprowski informed the crowd.
The public transit agency is also making a shift toward electric vehicles, with two electric paratransit vehicles expected to roll out this summer along with plans to add electric buses to the service area.
Koprowski also outlined several community partnerships. These partnerships can help remove the cost barrier for several residents, from veterans to youths.
The Youth Summer Blast Pass program will offer unlimited rides for riders ages 6-19. The passes are $25.00, but the Greater Toledo Community Foun-dation is hoping to fund 2,000 passes this year with a donation.
“These youth passes are going to be free for our kickoff year and we’d love to work with the Maumee community to get these in the hands of youth,” Koprowski said.
“It is the leadership of the board, too. They have done the hard work to rebuild and to give us the support,” Koprowski said.
During the luncheon, chamber executive director Kristin Meyer also thanked members for their participation in the annual Hometown Hero Awards Banquet at the beginning of the month and encouraged attendees to take part in the chamber’s job fair at Maumee High School from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29.
She also welcomed several new members to the chamber: Robert Freimark of Stratus Cleaning Solutions; Devin Aller of Minuteman Press Toledo & Maumee; Jayson Hines of Sales Funnel Marketing; Matthew Kibler of Custom Training Solutions; Sarah Otis of River Road Inn & Sweets; and Tanya Jensen, Irma Acuna and Michelle Michalak of Howard Hanna.
More information on the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, including upcoming events like the job fair, ribbon-cuttings and coffee connections can be found on the website maumeechamber.com.