Laketran sees savings from fuel consortium led by Akron METRO RTA

By Chad Felton, The News Herald | Monday, December 31, 2018

While Laketran’s traditional sources of revenue have been lagging or uncertain, such as state and federal funding, the regional transit system has been able to depend on continued savings from a fuel consortium led by Akron METRO RTA to keep service operating.

“This past year alone, Laketran lost over $375,000, primarily, due to state funding cuts,” said CEO Ben Capelle. “Without the continued fuel savings, we wouldn’t be able to sustain our service levels.”

According to a news release, Laketran joined the consortium back in 2015, initially using the fuel savings to restore Local Routes and Dial-a-Ride service on Saturdays.

“Today, the savings is helping us sustain the 14 percent growth in Dial-a-Ride trips we have seen annually over the past three years,” Capelle said.

Traveling over 4 million miles a year, Laketran purchases 435,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually to operate Local Routes, Dial-a-Ride and Cleveland commuter Park-n-Ride services, the release stated.

Laketran recently approved a contract with Petroleum Traders Corporation, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that secures a $2.03 per gallon cost on diesel fuel for 2019, while retail pump pricing is $3.16 per gallon.

The transit agency saved $332,766 in 2017 and estimates a $428,000 savings for 2018, comparing retail pump prices to their fuel contract.

“Just like we all see filling up our own vehicles, fuel pricing is very volatile,” said Laketran Board President Brian Falkowski. “When it’s the second largest cost in your budget, you control the cost and get the best price possible.

“We’ve been very happy with the results of the consortium.”