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Published: Thursday, 6/27/2013

Perrysburg's public transportation resumes, using new levy and Ride Right

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gil Lutz and his dog Satchel prepare to use the Ride Right service, as driver Angelica Barry greets them. Gil Lutz and his dog Satchel prepare to use the Ride Right service, as driver Angelica Barry greets them.
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Gil Lutz was sitting right behind his front door with his assistance dog Satchel next to him waiting for his ride to his doctor's office on Monday.

It was the first day Perrysburg had its public transportation service back, and his first of many rides on it.

"I have my freedom back today," Mr. Lutz said with a big smile as he waited for his ride. "I have to go to YMCA and renew my membership again."

PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg public transportation resumes

He joked that his gut is showing that he hasn't been to the YMCA, with public transportation down since November. He had gone to the YMCA twice a week, and said he will use Ride Right about six to eight times a week.

A five-year, 0.8-mill transit levy was approved by voters last month, generating a little more than half the amount of a transit levy rejected by voters in November. It will generate about $450,000 per year and cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $50 a year.

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Perrysburg ended its Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s service in September after voters passed a referendum in March, 2012, to withdraw from that agency. In 2011, Perrysburg taxpayers paid $1.492 million for TARTA services.

"This is a big day for celebration for Go Perrysburg, the city administration, and citizens of Perrysburg to give people like Gil their independence independance back after not having it for a long time," said Jack Hoeflinger, president of Go Perrysburg committee that campaigned for the levy and worked with the company that runs Ride Right. "It is exciting to have it back everyday."

Ride Right driver Angelica Barry was enjoying her first day back. She said the first day back was busy. There were about five riders she had scheduled Monday.

The Grand Caravan used for the service had "Perrysburg Transit" written on the side. Also on the minivan was the service's phone number, 419-872-8430.

Ride Right's phone service will operate 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It costs $1 for a ride and it is preferred that rides are called in and scheduled at least the day before the ride.

Without public transportation, Mr. Lutz said, he had done most of his shopping on Amazon.com for awhile, including buying a pack of batteries online. He's excited to shop, exercise and do everything else he was used to when city residents previously had public transportation.

"Put a bag over your head and park your car keys for a month and that's what it's like for me," Mr. Lutz said. "Only at the end of the month you can go back to driving."

After Mr. Lutz walked down the ramp at his doctor's office, he handed Ms. Barry a gold dollar coin he wanted to spend to celebrate the start of public transportation again in Perrysburg.

"This is fantastic, spectacular," he said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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