LOGAN — Logan Public Transit went countywide this week and will now provide rides for any Hocking County residents in the general public.
Prior to the expansion, Logan Public Transit only served the city of Logan and the villages of Haydenville, Rockbridge, Carbon Hill and Union Furnace.
Now, the service will cover a lot more ground thanks to a large grant. To support the larger service area, two new drivers have been hired and according to Roger Stivison, service manager with Logan Public Transit, a third employee is in the works.
The transit received a $623,631 grant through the Ohio general revenue fund for 2020 to make the expansion possible. This is a 112 percent increase that will allow all Hocking County residents to take Logan Public Transit’s curb-to-curb service to work, school, doctor’s appointments, and more.
“People in the current service area may not see much change, but the ones out of the service area will finally have access to Logan and this will help them get groceries and accomplish all the things they need to do,” Stivison remarked.
LPT, which is administered by Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, received this grant money through vouchers. As the transit spends money, staffers send the vouchers to the state and are then reimbursed.
Because the public transit is a nonprofit, its main source of funding is through grants. Each year it receives a different amount so the amount it receives next year will determine whether the expansion continues.
Logan Public Transit is more likely to remain countywide if it can prove to the state that people from new areas are taking advantage of the service and show it is a necessity in the county residents.
“We know there are people out there who have no other means of transportation,” remarked Stivision. “And a lot of them have worn out their welcome with friends, neighbors and relatives to try to get to doctor’s appointments and go shopping so the idea behind the expansion is to get that service to them and hopefully, they can get access to healthcare.”
As for more buses, Stivison said they plan to replace an older one this year and hope to get two for next year. Currently they have 10 buses.
Ride rates may change depending on how many new people use the transit. Fares will also be based on distance traveled.
“It just depends on the demand,” remarked Stivison. “We have tried to predict the demand but there is just no way to predict it.”
Stivison added that they have started to receive calls from people in the new areas since Monday and had one new rider as of Wednesday.
Rides must be reserved by calling 740-385-6999.