Redi-Ride is ready for changes

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By Erin Gray
The Meridian Times

Proposals for CATA’s Redi-Ride service could increase taxes for Meridian Township citizens.

Former Meridian Township Treasurer Tom Klunzinger said when Redi-Ride was voted into effect in 2000, the board proposed for a .2-mill tax to provide the service on a trial basis.

Redi-Ride is a curb-to-curb bus service for citizens to any destination within Meridian, according to Township Manager Frank Walsh.

“We have had some concerns raised about the service,” said Walsh, “So we are holding a community meeting to listen and engage the community in what issues have arisen.” The meeting was held on Oct. 27 at the Meridian Township Hall.

Citizens have used Redi-Ride for 15 years and gave feedback to the Board of Trustees on the service.

Karla Hudson, a Meridian Township citizen who is visually impaired said she relies on public transportation for employment.

“We want on demand service that we were promised, where we can call four hours in advance. That was what I was told back as a voter in 2000 and I have to tell you in all the years I have used Redi-Ride it has never worked that way,” Hudson said.

Several citizens said they are happy having a township transportation system but since they are paying tax dollars for it, they would like to see a more efficient system.

Klunzinger proposed that the board increase the tax on Redi-Ride from a .2-mill tax to a .3-mill tax to cover the costs of a more efficient and customer pleasing service.

This would mean the owner of a house worth $300,000 in Meridian Township would pay $45 a year under the .3 mill tax proposal or $30 a year under the current .2 mill tax proposal.

Citizen and vice president of Michigan Flyer Ody Norkin said he used Redi-Ride for the first time on a Monday afternoon, and waited 11 minutes until an operator came on the line.

“I am not here at all and never have been here to critique or criticize CATA as an operation, but if my customers are on hold for 12 minutes, I would be out of business,” Norkin said.

Trustee John Veenstra said that Meridian Township pays higher taxes than citizens in surrounding cities.

“We are paying the most and as we have heard from people who don’t drive, this is a really necessary and critical service so we have to make sure it is available,” Veenstra said.
The board is taking into consideration suggestions and proposals from citizens and Klunzinger.

“Our intention is to eventually put together a work group, hopefully in the near future, that will be open to the public and we will dig into the data with regard to Redi-Ride,” Trustee Ron Styka said.

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