LIMA — After past financial hardship, the Allen County Regional Transit Authority is making headway. What was previously a time of struggle is now filled with abundance.
In 2020, the Cares ACT was signed by Congress to help fund public transportation. The act helped transit authorities across the nation in need of a helping hand. According to ACRTA co-director Brian Wildermuth, RTA received almost $4 million.
The funding came in the nick of time. According to a previous Lima News article, in 2017 the RTA began making budget cuts because of the loss of funding.
The additional funding has been a huge help as RTA continues to move forward.
After the loss of one bus, RTA was able to purchase 3 buses for future use.
“One of our buses was totaled out in June or July after an accident,” said Wildermuth. “It could have been replaced but it was easier to get a few used buses. We got 3 buses from a company that was getting rid of their buses. So we got a really good deal.”
“One bus will replace the bus that we lost,” added Wildermuth. “The other two will help out. We do a lot of community events and special services. Like in the summers we have a lot of daycares we pick up and take to the pools, parks, roller skating and things like that. That will also cut down on some of the usage for the buses that we keep on our fixed routes.”
RTA has not only purchased additional buses but it’s also opened new routes throughout the region.
To replace the previous night routes, RTA created a Microtransit route that runs in the evening. Community members can call and set up an appointment for transportation. The bus runs from Monday through Friday from 7:15 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Wildermuth said the organization has expanded its route by going to new territories.
“We started a route almost two years ago; we were going to Delphos and Bluffton,” said Wildermuth. “It is relatively new and it has been expanding pretty well for us.”
RTA will be starting the Lima Loop in May or June of next year. The loop will travel throughout the downtown area taking community members to various restaurants and shopping arenas in the heart of Lima.
More projects are soon to come for the RTA bus system proving any situation can be turned around.
Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.