The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) awarded 10 projects in central Ohio with Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Section 5310 Program funding. The funding is given to programs that will enhance the mobility of older adults and individuals with disabilities. The Delaware Area Transit Agency (DATA) was among the 10, receiving just under $240,000.
FTA’s Section 5310 provides grant funds for capital expenses for vehicles and related equipment used to transport seniors and people with disabilities, and activities related to mobility management.
Funds may also be used for operating projects which specifically serve seniors and people with disabilities, travel training to instruct persons using fixed-route bus services, and capital projects to remove barriers at bus stops for persons with disabilities.
DATA will receive $35,774 for operating costs, which also requires a 50 percent local match. In addition, $110,029 was granted for three years of software, which will see a 20 percent local match, and $94,191 was given for “capitalized maintenance” and will also require a 20 percent match.
Tonya Layman, the mobility manager for DATA Bus, said its funding match comes from the contracts it holds with organizations like SourcePoint and the Delaware County Department of Jobs and Family Service.
DATA Bus offers door-to-door services for senior citizens and those with disabilities through its demand response service. Riders can schedule a bus to pick them up and drop them off at their specified location by calling DATA Bus. The funding for operations will help in continuing those services, as will the funding for new software.
The software will allow users to schedule trips online, as well as to see when their bus will arrive. Layman said there will also be a “call-back feature” so that users will no longer have to call to check where their bus is; riders will be able to check through the app or online. Layman said the new software will allow DATA Bus to get current with today’s technology.
DATA Bus conducts its own maintenance on its buses, doing so in the garage located at its facility. The grant for capitalized maintenance will cover the costs of preventative maintenance on the buses.
The importance of the Section 5310 Program funding can’t be understated for DATA Bus, which receives no funding from the City of Delaware or Delaware County. Layman said of the funding, “It’s vital. Without it, we wouldn’t exist.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-09094. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.