YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Transit Authority launched its fixed route service in Warren in early March, marking the first time in several years the city had regular bus service.
But in the first week of April, the coronavirus forced a monthlong shutdown of all WRTA’s fixed route buses, which were replaced with an enhanced version of its Countywide service, using smaller buses for scheduled trips.
Service resumed May 18 with safety measures in place and, in mid-June, WRTA expanded its fixed routes and launched the Late Night service, offering curb-to-curb service.
WRTA’s Lordstown Express route was launched at the end of August, offering three routes on weekdays to PurFoods at the corner of Bailey Road and Mahoning Avenue. As developments in the village, such as TJX’s distribution center and Lordstown Motors, progress, the line will be vital in ensuring workers have reliable transportation to their jobs.
To close out the year, the bus service launched a new smartphone app.
“This app enables riders of WRTA’s Late Night service to schedule rides as soon as 15 minutes prior to their requested pickup time,” says Dean Harris, executive director. “Riders using the app can also see the progress of the bus as it travels to their pickup point.”
The new Holiday Lights campaign was also launched, supporting nonprofits in Mahoning and Trumbull counties “who help light up the Valley year-round with their efforts on behalf of those in need,” Harris says. “Following a public nomination process, 18 organizations were chosen, and all were featured on signs appearing on the sides of WRTA buses.”
The honored organizations are Animal Charity, Buster’s Brigade, Cadence Care Network, Compass Family and Community Services, Down Syndrome Association of the Valley, Emmanuel Community Care Center, Mercy Health Resource Mothers Program, Meridian HealthCare, Potential Development, The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, The Rich Center for Autism, Scope Senior Services, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sight for All United, Someplace Safe, Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry, Western Reserve Independent Living Center and Youngstown Community Food Center/Gleaners Food Bank.