Venango County Transportation and the Crawford Area Transportation Authority (CATA) have merged administrative services effective July 1, 2016. The agreement, signed earlier this year by Venango County Commissioners and the CATA Board of Directors, authorizes CATA to manage the local services including the GoBus and the shared ride service.
Clients of the Venango County service, now identified as Venango County Transit, will see no change in the schedules or the cost for the GoBus. The printed schedules have been updated with a fresh look and maps designed to be user friendly.
Shared rides and out of county trips will be scheduled as usual by calling the dispatch office at 432-7255. The same drivers will be providing the trips, but with a new look. Drivers will begin wearing uniforms of red shirts and black pants. The vehicles will be receiving an updated look as well with a red and black swoosh on the side of the all-white vehicles identified as Venango County Transit, powered by CATA.
Part of a statewide regionalization effort by the Bureau of Public Transportation, this contract will combine the two counties in an administrative agreement. Venango and Crawford Counties were part of a five-county study including neighboring Forest, Warren and Clarion Counties that began several years ago. As a result of that study, it was determined that the two counties could potentially realize savings of nearly $500,000 in the course of the next 10 years by combining resources.
A portion of the proposed savings will come from a PennDOT incentive that allows a five-year waiver of the local match or more than $60,000 per year. Both counties receive federal and state funding, that must be supplemented with local funds. Once savings have been established as a result of the merger, the local share will be waived for a five-year period.
Crawford and Venango Counties provide nearly 400,000 rides and receive more than $4 million in funding for the shared ride, fixed route and medical assistance programs.
Timothy Geibel, formerly executive director at CATA, will be the general manager of the newly formed partnership. Karen Clark, formerly program manager at Venango County, will be serving as deputy general manager. The new group has adopted the slogan, “Partners in Transit, Because Every Trip Matters.”
Venango County will continue to be the administrator for the medical assistance transportation program and CATA will serve as the service provider for the program.