FLINT TWP. — With a five-year millage renewal proposal coming up on the August ballot, an MTA official visited the township board to highlight all the specialized transportation services offered by the agency.
William Reedy, a Your Ride service manager, described a role-model operation that includes specialized transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and outcounty jobs.
MTA’s service to take frail elderly people to medical appointments is one of a kind in 32 states. Other places use ambulances at greater cost to passengers.
MTA’s medical transportation services provided more than 7,000 trips in February of this year, Reedy said. Since starting same-day services in 2016, ridership has grown from 160 in the first month to more than 5,000 per month with expectations to offer 1,000 rides per day. A service fleet of 60 cars is expected to grow to 150. Door-to-door service also includes transporting seniors to grocery shopping and to pick up prescriptions.
The medical transportation service will eventually be rolled out to the general public.
MTA cars are equipped with child safety seats and provide transport for more than 1,000 children each month.
“Our MTA is considered to be a model for the country, providing services at this level,’’ Reedy said.
MTA’s job-related services encompass all of Genesee County hand has expanded to six adjoining counties. This year, service will be provided for 1.8 million riders.
“We have received local, state and federal recognition for our program,” Reedy said. “Our commuter transportation program for job-related services is the largest in the state and a model that is being considered around the country.”
Pat Convery, now retired president of the Howell Chamber of Commerce, described a situation a few years ago when manufacturers could not find enough skilled workers for job openings. Working with MTA, she helped arrange bus service that to her amazement was up and running in a week and a half.
MTA is now making 147,000 one-way trips from Flint to Livingston County, she said.
“MTA has been so accommodating and made such a difference both to the manufacturers who desperately needed the people and to the people in Flint who desperately needed the jobs. It was a match made in heaven,” she said.
Reedy’s presentation also covered MTA’s plans for alternative fuel use. It expects to soon take delivery of 35 compressed natural gas vehicles, eventually replacing diesel-powered vehicles that are more than 22 years old.
MTA has partnered with Consumers Energy to build and operate a compressed natural gas facility in Grand Blanc Township that will provide gas for MTA vehicles and also be open to the public.
By 2021, MTA expects to have its entire fleet running on alternative fuel sources, a cost savings that will enable expansion of services/
The millage proposal on the August ballot seeks voter support to provide Your Ride and related services for the elderly, disabled and other members of the public. The 0.40 mills levy anticipates collection of $3,335,794 in its first year and would expire December 31,2023.