City agrees to extend transportation to county


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Thanks to nearly a year of ironing out details with the Darke County Commission and Area Agency on Aging, residents outside of the city of Greenville may soon have an option for transportation to locations within the county. Greenville City Council approved two resolutions during its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17 that would make it possible.

The agreements allow Greenville Transit System (GTS) to expand its service area to the entire county. County residents have been without transportation opportunities since Community Action Partnership (CAP) ceased its transportation service at the end of 2022. Since the city has approved the agreement, it will be up to the Agency on Aging and the Darke County Commission to approve the agreement for this to go into effect.

Safety Service Ryan Delk pointed out this may require the city to add staff, but for the moment they are planning on easing into it. “With the county trips, we’re going to require a 24-hour notice so we can schedule those out-in-the-county trips,” he said. He said they are fully staffed, but the need for transportation within the city has also increased. “What has happened is we’ve gotten really busy here in the city,” Delk said. He pointed to a recent day where GTS provided 165 rides.

In the agreement with the county, anyone is eligible to use the transit system. The county will be separated into zones and the northern and southern zones will pay a $10 one-way fee. The middle zone will be a $5 one-way fee. For example, residents in Ansonia or Arcanum would pay $10 to come into the city. However, for their return trip, they would pay $5. “Whatever zone you get picked up in is what you pay,” said Delk. The county would also pay a per-mile fee to the city.

Although the agreement with the Area Agency on Aging is similar, there are different parameters for those using GTS. Individuals meeting the qualifications through that agency would not be required to pay. The agency pays the city the transportation costs.

Councilperson Delores Eley expressed her support for both agreements but wanted to ensure the city is prepared for the increased usage of GTS. “I appreciate the fact that we are reaching out to offer transportation that is much needed. That is going to put some extra work on someone and I assume that we have thought about that and how we are going to make it an easy transition. Our citizens do need transportation. Our county needs to come into our city limits and stuff. I just wanted to go on record that we need to make sure that we have plenty of back up for the people who are going to be accepting that.”

Eley also feels the agreements did not go far enough. “I just want to go on record that this is something that needs to be done. I guess this is the place to start stirring the pot. It doesn’t really go far enough because we have people that have to get to other cities, as well. In my opinion, I’m putting it out that these are two really great moves, but it doesn’t go far enough. We need to start going out a little further. Not all people go to doctors in Greenville, Ohio. They go to specialists. Not wanting to put any extra burden on us, we need to look a little further.”

At a recent meeting of the Darke County Commission, the commissioners said the charter for GTS does not allow them to go outside the county. Commissioners are meeting with CAP’s new CEO with an effort of having the agency offer transportation outside the county. Currently, only Catholic Social Services offers transportation outside the county for medical appointments, but their staff is volunteer based.

In other business, Mayor Jeff Whitaker honored longtime educator and Greenville City Schools Board of Education member Jim Sommer. In his recognition, Whitaker said, “In addition to Mr. Sommer’s 20 years of board service to Greenville City Schools, he was also an active member of the regional and state Ohio board’s association, the OSBA (Ohio School Board Association), serving throughout his tenure as a student achievement and legislative liaison for the district.” Sommer also served on the OSBA region executive committee for well over a decade.

Sommer was a past teacher and administrator at Versailles for 30 years before becoming a board of education member for Greenville City School. Whitaker added, “As mayor, it is with great pride that I tender this recognition to Jim on behalf of the City of Greenville for his combined 50 years of service to the Greenville City and Versailles Schools and his continued desire to give back to his local community to make it a better place for generations to come.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected]

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