Township Board Discusses the Future of Redi-Ride Services in Meridian Township
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Redi-Ride's service contract is expiring and the Meridian Township Board is ready to renew the millage to support the service.
Finalizing and implement a long term funding plan for public transportation including a detailed scope for Redi-Ride services is a 2019 Township goal.
The Township's Transportation Commission recommend to renew and restore the previously authorized .2 mills to maintain the Redi-Ride service which was discussed at the last Board meeting on March 5. As part of the Transportation Commission’s recommendation they suggested the Board consider a shorter length of time for the millage, possibly five (5) years, to allow for changing transit options, services, and technological innovations. The Transportation Commission
also recommended a new Service Agreement be negotiated with the provider to ensure accountability and reflect changing service needs.
Many residents voiced their concerns at the recent Board meeting saying the service needs to make improvements.
The CATA service, Redi-Ride, has been serving Meridian Township with curb side pick ups since 1999. The current funding level is set at .2 mills which will expire in December of 2019. The Township had to decide if they were ready to open bidding on the service or to continue using the company.
Users of the transportation system spoke at the March 19 Board meeting addressing the problems they have experienced with Redi-Ride. Among those individuals was Karla Hudson a rehabilitation counselor who has used the service for 26 years.
"Types of complaints [include] needing to call days in advance to get a ride, rides not showing up, competition with school children for rides," Karla Hudson said.
Mike Hudson complimented Meridian Township for adding this service many years ago but said the service hasn't progressed since it begun.
"Where Redi-Ride is, is really where it was in 1999," Mike Hudson said. "There has been hardly an ounce of innovation. You still call a number, you wait around for a while and if you're lucky you only have two or three calls ahead of you."
The Township Board had the option to put "service provider" in the future millage language instead of CATA, opening it up to bidding. CATA would be able to compete for biding to keep the service with Redi-Ride.
When the Board discussed the millage members had different opinions.
Trustee Courtney Wisinski thanked community members for voicing their opinion but thinks CATA is the best option.
"We do need to work to improve our existing service," Wisinski said. "We do need to support our public transit. If we maybe looked at it as a goal setting to give us some time to develop some infrastructure."
Clerk Brett Dreyfus was a member in favor of looking further into other options.
"The concerns are, only CATA can do it but we don't know," Dreyfus said. "Again we really don't know who can provide anything. We know what we have been getting with CATA, we should find out what we can get in other places."
Despite discussion, the Board voted to pass the resolution to continue using CATA for Redi-Ride as the transportation service.
The Township Manager and Township Attorney will now draft the appropriate ballot language subject to the
Township Board’s approval. The Township Manager has been authorized to negotiate a new Service Agreement with CATA including the provisions recommended by the Transportation Commission. The new Service Agreement
will need to be approved by the Board prior to July 31, 2019.