YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Transit Authority added bus routes in 2021 and launched a plan to increase development on the Market Street corridor.
Despite the pandemic, the agency continued to provide up to 7,000 rides per day. “We had plenty of challenges,” says Dean Harris, executive director. “But I was proud of how our team handled the adversity. Our riders seemed pleased with the service.”
The transit authority started the year with the new Valley Valentines Campaign to celebrate Ohio Loves Transit Day. Because the day falls on Valentine’s Day, WRTA asked riders, “Who do YOU love?” The first 14 people who submitted a Valentine addressed to a special someone had their names and a message shown on the giant digital display at WRTA’s Federal Station.
In March, WRTA developed its Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plan for Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The plan assesses the transportation needs of underserved people.
In August, the Market Street Corridor Transit-Oriented Development Plan was launched. The project was created in collaboration with the city of Youngstown and Boardman Township. It proposes improvements to transit and customer amenities and strategies to attract development to the Market Street corridor – downtown Youngstown to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boardman.
WRTA marked its 50th anniversary in October with a celebration at Federal Street Station. Increased bus service was announced in December. And fixed routes were reinstated in Warren with seven routes.
The new Akron Express route was also added. It’s a connector route to Akron’s Northeast Express and is designed to get veterans to the VA hospital in Cleveland.
WRTA wrapped up the year with its Holiday Lights campaign, which honors organizations that help the Valley. Eighteen groups were chosen and featured on signs on buses.