By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport will be going it alone with its employee shuttle service program.
At Groveport City Council’s Dec. 13 committee of the whole meeting, city officials announced that the city of Obetz will no longer participate in the Groveport Rickenbacker Employee Access Transit (GREAT) shuttle service.
Groveport City Administrator B.J. King said Obetz will leave the program effective the end of 2021.
“They felt they were not getting enough use out of the program,” said King of Obetz’s decision to depart.
“Obetz determined it was no longer in their best interest to participate in GREAT,” wrote Groveport Director of Transportation Bob Dowler in a report to council. “We (Groveport) will service GREAT stops in that (Obetz) area through the end of 2021. Obetz will be providing transisitional information for distribution on our shuttles to assist those riders currently using the GREAT service.”
City of Obetz officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Obetz’s financial contribution to the GREAT program was $150,000 annually, according to King.
Groveport Finance Director Jason Carr said the city of Groveport’s annual 2021 budget for the program was $341,250.
“Let’s be sure to rebrand the program and get their (Obetz) name off the vehicles,” said Groveport City Councilman Shawn Cleary.
Groveport launched GREAT in 2015 in partnership with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and Obetz. The service was designed to ease area mass transit issues and bring employees to work in the city’s industrial parks. It augments COTA bus service in the Rickenbacker Airport area and provides last-mile service for employees to businesses located within Groveport and, at the time, Obetz.
Groveport established GREAT in response to area businesses’ difficulties in finding enough employees. Some potential employees are unable to work in Groveport’s industrial parks because the city’s transportation needs were underserved by the COTA bus system. City officials said they did not want to lose large employers due to a lack of workers and that the shuttle service allows employers to hire and retain their employees who need, or choose, to use public transportation.
The city of Groveport will continue to operate the GREAT program.
For information on the GREAT shuttle service program visit www.groveport.org.