Ludington mayor asks LMTA to consider offering service to Meijer.

February 26, 2019

Ludington mayor asks LMTA to consider offering service to Meijer.

#MasonCountyNews

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Ludington Mayor Steve Miller attended today’s meeting of Ludington Mass Transit Authority and asked the board to consider providing service to and from Meijer. Miller specifically said he was concerned about the residents of Longfellow Towers who, during his campaign, had told then candidate Miller that not being able to take public transportation to Meijer was their top concern.

Through a millage, LMTA provides service to the cities of Ludington and Scottville. Pere Marquette Charter Township, through its own millage, also contracts with LMTA for services to its residents. Meijer is located in Amber Township, which does not contribute to LMTA. However, LMTA provides service between Scottville and Ludington seven times a day, Monday through Friday with buses driving on US 10.

LMTA used to provide pick-up and drop-off service at Meijer for residents who were serviced by the dial-a-ride service. Chair Karen Nielsen told Miller that the additional stops were costing LMTA $68,000 a year. Executive Director Richard Collins said it is likely the additional stops would now cost about $90,000 a year.

“We agonized for months over the decision (to stop the service) Nielson said. “But, we were losing $68,000. The township (Amber Township) won’t even bring it to a vote of its citizens.”

Nielson said LMTA tried to reach out to Amber Township board members. “We were met, most of the time, with nothing, when he (Collins) would call there wasn’t even a courtesy return call.”

Collins said that he did eventually meet with Amber Township Supervisor Jim Gallie and board members Richard Alway and Tom Alway.

In March 2018, the LMTa board had discussed placing an Amber Township millage request on the ballot. See related story here. Nielson added that Meijer officials would not discuss an option of funding the service.

Miller said he wanted to explore a variety of options and that he had been in conversations with the Pennies from Heaven Foundation.

No action was taken on the mayor’s request.

The board also discussed Collins’ concerns about a disabled rider and the liability of transporting the man with his 800-pound wheelchair. Collins played a video for the board which showed the man getting on an LMTA bus, using the chairlift. The man is shown in the video grabbing onto the control panel that operates the chairlift, as the driver was attempting to steady the man’s wheelchair. Collins said transporting the man and his wheelchair causes a risk to the rider and the driver and that LMTA will no longer transport the heavy wheelchair. He said the man can still ride using a normal wheelchair. The board discussed alternative options for the man, even the possibility of donating an out-of-service bus to the man’s family. Collins said he believed the family may attempt to take legal action.

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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