WILMINGTON — Two grant proposals approved by Wilmington Council Thursday night will expand the Wilmington Transit program and take on all of the program’s capital maintenance costs.
“I’m very pleased to announce that for 2016, Wilmington Transit will be able to expand our fleet of vehicles from 17 to 21 with the addition of four modified minivans that should arrive by the end of the year,” said Phil Floyd, director of the Wilmington Transit System. “And best of all, these vehicles are being provided without any cost to the city of Wilmington.”
Floyd said those expansions will address the department’s two main challenges — keeping up with demand and growing wait times.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation would pay those costs, according to Floyd. ODOT will also pay all of the programs capital maintenance costs, whereas before it paid 80 percent, and Floyd said ODOT has already informed public transit departments of their allocations.
Wilmington will pay 12 percent, or $187,500, of the department’s budget of $1,557,000, according to Floyd, who said it was the lowest amount required of Wilmington since 1999.
He said Wilmington Transit is on pace to provide 150,000 rides this year, which would be a new record. He also said that people have had to wait an hour for a ride.
“Through 2016 our goal is to continue to provide safe, reliable transportation to our citizens … especially our elderly and disabled to help them maintain their independence and quality of life,” Floyd said. “Through our continued efforts to improve efficiency, and cost cutting, we’ve continued to find ways to fund this much-needed service, which continues to grow each year, while keeping fares low and maintaining the same level of operation.”
Floyd concluded a public hearing held at Wilmington Council on Thursday by thanking the mayor and council and his staff, which he called “the greatest group of drivers and support staff.”
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.