Curb-to-curb bus services expands in central Lake County
Seniors and those with disabilities will have more choices for bus service with the scheduled expansion Tuesday of the Ride Lake County Central program.
The partnership of three townships with Libertyville and Mundelein will provide a greater geographic reach and frequency for shopping, doctor visits and other destinations, officials said.
"People (will) have a little more freedom. We're trying to eliminate the geographic boundaries," said Ashley Lucas, paratransit coordinator for the Lake County division of transportation.
County and other officials have a kick off event set for 8:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Mundelein village hall, 300 Plaza Circle, east of Seymour Avenue and south of Hawley Street.
The Dial-a-Ride service for those 60 and over and those with a disability will be expanded to 5:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. five days a week. The Lake County Coordinated Transportation Services, a coalition of government officials, advocacy groups and others, has been pursuing the expansion for months as a step in creating "borderless" transportation services.
"The current service has been in place for 30 years. During that time, the area has changed," said Libertyville Township Supervisor Kathleen O'Connor, who heads the group. Lake County and Pace, the suburban bus division of the Regional Transportation Authority, also are involved.
"This expansion will provide seniors and individuals with a disability, more options for medical appointments, employment and educational opportunities," she added.
Destinations will include; shopping areas south of Route 60 in Vernon Hills; Northwestern and Advocate Condell medical offices and the College of Lake County in Grayslake; the Lake County Health Department in Waukegan; and, the Metra station in Lake Forest.
The service builds on existing township, village, county and Pace partnerships. The cost is funded, in part, by federal grants matched by the county. Fares will increase from $1 each way per trip to $3 each way for trips under 10 miles and $6 each way for trips over 10 miles.
"The current program runs two days a week to set destinations. Fremont (Township) residents will now have access five days a week and be able to ride curb-to-curb to the destination of their choice," Fremont Township Supervisor Diana O'Kelly said. "This is a response to the residents' continual requests to access their doctors."
Lucas said some Dial-a-Ride services in Lake County are geographically limited. For example, Fremont Township residents could get a ride to Westfield Hawthorn mall in Vernon Hills but would have to cross Route 60 to access other shopping areas.
O'Connor did not have an estimate of potential new users, but said Pace will provide monthly data to track ridership.
"The data will be key assessing the true need and the development of a sustainability plan," she said.