Several Fairfield County municipalities and agencies want to restore a public shuttle service for local senior citizens.

Several Fairfield County municipalities and agencies want to restore a public shuttle service for local senior citizens.

On July 1, budget constraints forced the city of Pickerington to end a near five-year partnership with the Fairfield County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to provide shuttle transportation to Pickerington and Violet Township seniors.

Now, city officials are working with the Lancaster Public Transit System, Violet Township trustees, the Pickerington Senior Center and possibly others to re-establish the service to local seniors by January.

"We're trying to put together a consortium between the city, township and transit system, and there may be some involvement from the private sector, MRDD or others," said Tim Hansley, Pickerington city manager.

Under the old arrangement, Pickerington paid the MRDD $25,000 annually to provide transportation to local seniors. The seniors also paid $15 for round trips, which required reservations.

Because of a lack of funding, the city ended the partnership and the MRDD has since limited its shuttle service to those who receive MRDD services, regardless of age.

Following a series of talks to restore the service, the Lancaster Public Transit System submitted a proposal to the city on Aug. 19.

"My proposal is with $25,000 in local support from the city of Pickerington, Violet Township and the Pickerington Senior Center, with state and federal grant matches (a $9 to $1 match), we are able to provide public transportation with one, possibly two, vehicles in the city of Pickerington and Violet Township, Monday through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closing for major holidays)," Carrie Woody, Lancaster public transit administrator, stated in the proposal.

Under the plan, seniors would ride for $2 if they make advance-day reservations, and $5 if they make same-day reservations.

Elderly and disabled residents would quality for a mobility passport, which would reduce their fares to $1 per ride. Woody said the state would reimburse the other half of the fare.

"We just have to figure out the math of how we would split up the $25,000 (funding share)," Hansley said.

In July, John Bosser, Fairfield County MRDD community-outreach coordinator, said the shuttle made 494 trips from July 1, 2008 to June 30 for Pickerington residents who don't receive MRDD services. During that same time, the shuttle made 1,508 trips for individuals in the city who do receive the agency's services.