Laketran prioritizes Dial-a-Ride improvements after passing levy

LAKE COUNTY, OH – At the Monday, December 16 Laketran board of trustees meeting the board approved phase one of service improvements promised by Laketran that will be funded by the passage of their recent sales tax levy.

Laketran will be hiring twelve full-time drivers and nine part-time drivers that will add over 35,000 hours of Dial-a-Ride service in 2020.

“Our first priority is to fix our Dial-a-Ride service and return it to a level of service residents can rely on to get to work and medical appointments,” said Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “The demand for service over the past two years has exceeded our capacity by over 50,000 trips annually and now we’ll be able to meet those needs.”

Of Laketran’s 750,000 annual trips, Dial-a-Ride provides 300,000 trips to seniors and people with disabilities getting them to work, medical appointments, senior centers, shopping, and personal errands. Trips to medical appointments and seniors centers have increased 53 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Meanwhile work trips, often for people with disabilities, have increased 21 percent.

“We have been understaffed and relying heavily on overtime to meet customers’ requests, especially for seniors relying on us to get to medical appointments, but at times we have had to deny service,” shared Capelle. “It’s never easy to deny a trip to someone when that is exactly what we are here to do. I’m hoping those days are behind us.”

The first phase of improvements will add capacity to weekday Dial-a-Ride service that operates Monday through Friday 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Laketran also plans to add an additional trip to their weekday Cuyahoga County Medical Service that provides access to medical appointments at University Circle healthcare facilities.

“Our customers have been anticipating this news and we’re excited to announce the additional service,” said Capelle. “It will take the better part of the year to get this many drivers hired and trained because all our drivers go through an intensive eight week training course, but we hope to have the majority of them on the road by summer.”

“We are glad more residents are relying on Dial-a-Ride,” explained Laketran president Brian Falkowski. “With the continued support of our community, seniors will be able to remain independent by having mobility options that allow them age in place here in Lake County and have an overall better quality of life.”