Grant helps Transit costs

Carroll County Transit driver and dispatcher Tayler Bensching fields a phone call while Administrative Manager Mary Maszk watches. Carroll County Transit recently was awarded $139,548 in additional Covid relief funding.

By SAMANTHA PIDDE

Carroll County Transit (CCT) will receive more than $100,000 in emergency relief funding to help continue paying its operating costs.

In January 2020, the organization was awarded a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) grant in the amount of $173,316.

In early June, the Illinois Department of Transportation informed CCT it would be awarded $139,548 in additional emergency relief funding. This award is funded through the Federal Transit Administration and administered by the State of Illinois. Specifically, funds are being made available through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, and through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

Transit Administrative Manager Mary Maszk confirmed to the Mirror-Democrat/Times-Journal that this relief funding will be used for operational expenses, which can include paying drivers and dispatchers, upkeep on the vans, fuel costs and other normal expenses.

She said that while the organization typically receives grant funding, that amount does not pay 100 percent of CCT’s operational expenses. She noted that the pandemic has increased some of the organization's costs.

Maszk explained that for a while, Carroll County Transit was under social distancing requirements during the pandemic, which meant that even with larger vehicles, only one or two passengers could be transported at a time. This meant a lot more trips with the vehicles and extra costs.

"So our expenses were there, but we were not getting the income," Maszk said.

Transit also purchased a special cleaning machine and had increased sanitation costs during the pandemic.

Carroll County Transit is an "on-demand response, door-to-door public transportation service administered by Carroll County" providing rides to persons of all ages.

Transportation is available from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of the following observed holidays: New Year's Eve Day; New Year's Day; Good Friday; Memorial Day; Fourth of July; Labor Day; Thanksgiving Day; Friday after Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve Day; Christmas Day.

Carroll County Transit does charge fares for rides and people are asked to have correct change with them in cash. The current fee schedule is:

•Seniors—Free (donations) in-county and $4 out-of-county.

•Public (age 18-64)—$5 in-county and $8 out-of-county.

•Disabled Veterans—$3 in-county and $4 out-of-county.

•Students (18 and older)—$3 both in-county and out-of-county.

•Children 12 to 17—$2 both in-county and out-of-county.

•Children under 12—$1 in-county and out-of-county.

Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and provide any appropriate car seat.

Punch cards are available for $60 (20 rides with a free round trip at the end) and $30 (10 rides). Any stops not scheduled with dispatch will incur an additional $1 fee in-county or $2 fee out-of-county.

To schedule a ride, call Carroll County Transit at 815-244-0011 between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Requests for rides should be made at least one business day in advance, before 11:30 a.m. Out-of-county rides should be made at least two business days in advance.

Carroll County Transit is always looking for licensed drivers, added Maszk. For more information, call 815-244-0011.