Ride share program coming to Morrow County
By Randa Wagner -
The cost of driving to work each day could drop for some Morrow County commuters.
Janet Berardi, Senior Outreach Coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, was on hand at the January 16 commissioners’ meeting to explain a service that would enable Morrow County residents to car/van pool to work, saving them money on transportation expenses.
Berardi was there to ask the commissioners to pass a resolution to make Morrow County part of the service area. Their interest in Morrow County came about after 44 residents contacted their agency, RideSolutions, to inquire about services available locally. Most of those people work in Columbus, she said, and saw signs about the program outside of Morrow County.
“Right now, we’re informally offering our services to all of the people that contact us,” Berardi said, “but what we really want to do is work more closely with all of you to really increase our presence in the county and help more people learn about the service.”
Any interested person can call the toll free number or go online to sign up, register, and receive a ‘match list’ of ride possiblities, depending on where they work, what hours and where they live.
“We also have a van pool program,” Berardi said. “We facilitate the coordination of van pools and we work through a third-party provider to provide to actually provide a van. We can get up to 14 passengers in a van.”
That, she says, would get 14 vehicles off the road and provide reliable transporation. RideSolutions research reveals almost 13,000 Morrow County residents commute to work by riding alone, and about 1,300 residents carpool.
Additionally, Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH) is a free voucher program for residents that have registered with the RideSolutions program. When a worker has to work overtime or cannot leave work at the time they usually catch their ride, they can use a voucher from GRH for a taxi home — regardless of the distance — and get reimbursed for 90% of the taxi fee (up to four times a year).
With the passage of the resolution, Berardi said the signs advertising the program could be installed in the county at the next update. With the addition of the Tanger Outlet Mall and Cabelas in Delaware County in the next couple of years, the possibility of more residents using the service is likely.
There’s no cost to the county, residents or employer. So who sponsors the program? MORPC, through their transportation department, has federal funding from CMAQ monies (Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality) for the RideSolutions program. The Federal Department of Transporation’s idea is to reduce traffic congestion, lower commuter costs, improve energy conservation and improve air quality.
“The car and van pooling are convenient, reliable and affordable ways to get to work,” said Berardi, “especially for long distances.” She pointed out it could make the difference whether residents stay in Morrow County or move to be closer to work.
Commuters that need, and want, affordable, reliable transportation to their workplace are encouraged to call 1.888.742.RIDE (7433) or go online to www.rideshareohio.com.