Troy to take over Medi-Go transportation services

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 5, 2018

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TROY — Citing higher efficiency and increasing need, the Troy City Council took steps to take over Troy Medi-Go Plus, which transports seniors and people with disabilities to doctor’s appointments. 

The council unanimously approved the measure at its May 21 meeting, authorizing city administrators to begin negotiations with the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation for a partnership similar to the one in place for the Big Beaver shuttle, and to amend the 2018-19 city budget to include an estimated $555,000 expenditure for a full-time transportation manager, a transportation coordinator/scheduler, six part-time drivers and one fleet division technician. 

The estimated $555,000 stipend would be offset by SMART Community Credits, other credits and rider fares, which combined would amount to an estimated $261,000. 

The 2018-19 budget includes $50,000 for Medi-Go to cover the cost of a driver for another bus, plus insurance and fuel costs. 

Kurt Bovensiep, Troy public works director, told the council that Medi-Go has 20,000 riders annually. Over 600 people were denied rides last year for various reasons, such as not providing enough notice and for scheduling issues. 

“It allows us to tailor the service going forward and more flexibility,” Bovensiep said of the proposed plan. He added that drivers could be intermingled between the Big Beaver shuttle and Medi-Go. 

Currently, Medi-Go leases the buses from SMART free of charge through a community  partnership.

Bovensiep said that Medi-Go Director Garry Good and Oakland County Ombudsperson Madonna Van Fossen, a representative on the Troy Medi-Go board, agreed that the plan is the best way to offer Troy residents transportation services. 

Acting City Manager Mark Miller said that Medi-Go is having challenges with employee turnover. 

“The riders love us,” Good said. He praised Troy Recreation Director Elaine Bo for her support, and he noted that ridership has increased from 50 riders per day in 2016 to 83 per day currently. 

Good said that all current employees are part time. The city plan would create two full-time positions, needed to service Troy residents who request the service, Good said. 

“MediGo loves helping the city. Hopefully, this is a big step forward.” 

“We are in a position to make this more efficient,” said Councilwoman Ellen Hodorek. 

Councilman Ethan Baker said that while he is “anxious to hear how it will improve service for seniors, it ballooned into something bigger,” and council needs to be mindful of “what we are doing.” 

A representative for Medi-Go could not be reached for comment.

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