Highland County Mobility Manager Chris Hetzel held a meeting of the local Transportation Advisory Committee last Thursday at the Highland County Administration Building to discuss the public transit system in Highland County.
“The focus is on serving the needs of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and low income residents,” said Hetzel. “Mobility includes public and private transportation, cycling, walking and other modes of transportation.”
The system is funded primarily through federal grants administered through the Ohio Department of Transportation that provide about $60,000 annually to Highland County. ODOT is moving the grant program from a calendar year schedule to a fiscal year schedule.
Currently, the transit system operates primarily in Highland County, but there are future plans to provide transportation to and from work for Highland County residents who will be employed at the Intel manufacturing sites being built in Licking County and the Honda plant being built near Jeffersonville in Fayette County.
The majority of transit services for Highland County Mobility Management are provided through FRS Transportation, and some services are provided by Highland County Community Action and private transportation providers. Individual fares for rides from FRS range from $1 to $3, and one-month passes for unlimited trips can be purchased for $20 or $30, depending on the distance.
Transportation services for medical-related trips are funded through Highland County Jobs and Family Services and Medicaid and can be made to locations throughout southern Ohio.
“One of my main goals is just to expand the knowledge that there is public transit here in Highland County and to let people know what services are available to them, not just on the medical side, but in public transit,” said Hetzel. “Our goal is to be the link between those who need transportation and the providers within our county that have transportation or offer transportation and get those people connected with them.”
Hetzel said he also aims to expand transportation services for Highland County and increase services for the elderly, disabled, low income workers, students and the disadvantaged. “I want to get that knowledge out there and help expand the services, whether that be aid in the existing providers or helping them expand their business with statewide grants that will help them acquire more vehicles and staffing,” he said.
Information about public transit in Highland County can be found on Facebook under Highland Area Rural Transportation System.
“If there is anybody out there who needs transportation, needs help in finding transportation, or has questions about non-emergency medical transportation, I’m here to talk to and help them find what they need,” said Hetzel.
Hetzel can be reached at 937-403-0049 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.