News

New management at transit authority

Carol Wegher to retire from GLTA at end of May; new director steps in

For 11 years, Greater Lapeer Transportation Authority (GLTA) executive director Carol Wegher has conveyed their mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable transportation service to all residents in the service area. Friday, May 29 will be her last day with GLTA, as she is retiring.

“I’ve been here 11 years,” Wegher said.

Wegher began her public transit career in Livingston County where she worked for 27 years. After that she came to the GLTA, where she first started out as the director of operations.

“Around the state every single county has some form of public transit, be it a specialized service or a regular demand-response service, which is what we are. We are not a fixed route,” Wegher said. “The GLTA has been here for around 27 years. There were a couple systems before the current GLTA that went under due to lack of funding, but this one has been around for a long time.”

The GLTA services the city of Lapeer, and Elba, Oregon, Mayfield, Deerfield and Lapeer townships. It has the authority to travel throughout the county as well.

All an interested person has to do to set up a ride is call them at 810- 664-4566. Their hours of operation are from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.

Cost to ride with the GLTA is per ride. If a rider wants to be dropped off somewhere outside of the service area, the cost is increased.

“We sell tokens, and if you buy a pack of them you get one free,” Wegher said. “It reduces that overall cost a little bit. Typically the people that live outside the service area don’t purchase tokens. They can buy tokens here, they can get them from the drivers, and we have agencies that purchase tokens.”

Having worked in the public transit business for 38 years, Wegher knows how much the GLTA makes a difference in the lives of its riders.

“Without public transportation a lot of people would be homebound,” she said. “Maybe they don’t have family, or they don’t have family members that are able to take them where they need to go because people work or don’t have cars. As much as we’d like to think that public transportation is a choice, we are a lot of people’s only means of getting around. So it’s the benefit to the community. It’s knowing that you make a difference in people’s lives.”

With her newly found free time, Wegher is looking forward to remodeling her home in Fenton and spending time with family.

“My husband and I have some projects that we want to do to our house,” she said. “We remodeled our kitchen last summer, so this summer it’s going to be the living room and the dining room. I’m also looking forward to spending time with grandkids and going to see family — my son lives in Alaska and we were hoping he would be here this summer, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, so I might be going to Alaska for awhile.”

While her last day is on May 29, Wegher plans to stay around for a while in support of the incoming executive director, Kelly Bales.

Bales has been with the GLTA since March 23. Prior to that she was self-employed, working for about 15 different title companies for 17 years. She heard about the job opening at the GLTA through word of mouth.

“I was born and raised in Lapeer, so it’s a really great thing for it to kind of come full-circle. To be able to work in the community and, until my son rode GLTA, I didn’t know it was here. But as far as all the benefits the GLTA gives to the residents of Lapeer County… I predominantly did my work out of the county at that point, so when I was not here, GLTA was there to be my transportation resource for my son,” Bales said.
Bales is most looking forward to making the public aware of the GLTA because, “a lot of people in Lapeer probably don’t see what the GLTA could do for them and their families.”

“That’s something we all struggle with, because you can’t get any bigger than we are when you’ve got 27 rolling billboards out there on the road,” Wegher said. “Until you really need it, you might see it 100 times, but you don’t realize that it’s available for everybody.”

Beverly Dupuis, the GLTA financial director, is also retiring on May 29 along with Wegher. She has been with the company for 23 years.

“I like doing some good for the community. It makes me feel good,” she said.

Traci Pewinski, the former Imlay City deputy clerk and utility biller, will replace Dupuis.
“Between (Dupuis and I), we have over 60 years in this business,” Wegher said.

To find out more about what the GLTA can do for you, visit them online at www.go-glta.org or call them at 810-664- 4566.

Michigan Transit Manager Named "Hometown Hero"

Mr. Tom Pirnstill, Manager of Clare County Transit Corporation, has been named a "hometown hero." Mr. Pirnstill, who together with his wife Paula founded the annual Paula Pirnstill Memorial Health and Safety Fair held in Farwell on the third Saturday of April each year, has been chosen to receive a 2015 Hometown Health Hero award.

Each year, Michigan Health Policy Champions honors individuals and organizations who have been “champions” for public health in the public policy arena in their communities and the state of Michigan. Michigan’s annual Hometown Health Hero Award recognizes the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond their normal duties to make a positive impact on the health of their local communities.

The presentation of the award will be held in the Capitol Rotunda in Lansing on April 15 at 11:30 a.m.

For more on Mr. Pirnstill's work see http://www.clarecountyreview.com/news/pirnstill-named-hometown-hero/

Getting to Work the MTA Way

What public transportation agency provides the largest full service work related commuter system in the state of Michigan? The Mass Transportation Authority.

Since 1997, Flint’s Mass Transportation Authority has taken an aggressive approach to the changing needs to supply workers with transportation to jobs in other communities as far away as Troy, Saginaw, Lapeer, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor and Shiawassee County.

Last year the MTA provided over 2.2 million rides for work related transportation allowing individuals to access their jobs throughout Genesee County and the six (6) adjoining counties.

Current indications suggest that this number will grow exponentially over the next several years and will exceed 4 million annual trips in the near future.

The Flint and Genesee County community will continue to look for expanded work related transportation service as new economic development takes place. This development will offer a wide variety of employment opportunity well beyond the county line, stretching along I-69, the I-75 corridor and US-23.

The MTA stands out as one of the county’s prime resources for connecting its citizens to new opportunities enabling them to provide a living for their families back here at home. These Genesee County citizens might work outside the county, but they continue to bring income back home increasing the strength of our local economy and increasing the standard of living in the area.
The MTA’s goal is to continue providing essential transportation services to connect individuals with opportunities to improve their lives and to grow our community’s economy.

The Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) has commissioned a study of the I-75 corridor from Bay City to Detroit utilizing State and Federal planning monies to determine the feasibility of providing public transportation services to meet the needs of today and into the future. In many parts of the United States, low cost bus service is operated on the shoulder of the freeways and or in a commuter HOV lane. The study once completed will provide recommendations on the best alternative to address the growing number of commuters traveling the freeways to access jobs in other communities.

Other studies will be undertaken to look at the I-69 and US-23 corridors. These studies once completed will provide additional recommendations to prepare us for the possibility of a large transportation hub that integrates I-75, I-69 and the US-23 corridor.

The Flint Mass Transportation Authority is extremely proud of the position that it is taking on being the leader to pioneer these opportunities and services that will lead us into the future and continue to grow our economies and opportunities for the many residents of our community.

ALTRAN working feverishly to return to normal

by Dan Giroux, WLUC

WETMORE -- They’re certainly not back to normal yet, but ALTRAN is operating once again.

ALTRAN is temporarily operating out of the LMAS building in Wetmore. Currently they are handling about four buses out of a normal ten. The buses were operating for critical patients needing transportation to medical appointments in Marquette as well as for school children in the area on Friday. According to Operations Manager Kathy Kolbus, ALTRAN would not be running without the help of the fire department.

"It's amazing the amount of information that we have that they saved for us. Without them, we would not be up and running today and we definitely would not be up and running within a week’s time without all that information they saved for us," said Kolbus.

Buses have been loaned to ALTRAN from across Upper Michigan and even Northern Lower Michigan. With the help from other transit operations, ALTRAN is hoping to be close to 100 percent next week.

For updates see the original story

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