CIRCLEVILLE — Pickaway County Community Action (PICCA) is filling what transportation experts think might be a need in the county.
PICCA is now operating a bus route, for free, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The route makes several stops in Ashville and South Bloomfield and is being funded for 10-weeks by a $3,500 grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Matthias Rickerd, transportation manager at PICCA said the mobility manager for Pickaway County, Bruce Rickard, was looking for a way to provide service to underserved parts of the county and thus this route was born.
“He saw a lot of people who did not have transportation in Ashville,” Matthias Rickerd said. “He came to us and we looked at what options we could provide for the county and the Ashville area. There was some grant money to do the pilot program to see if this would benefit the Ashville community.”
The bus stops at Dollar General, Wendys and Circle Kay in South Bloomfield and in Ashville at the PICCA location on Miller Avenue, Louise Terrace Housing, the Post Office, library, Ashville Apothecary and The Savings Bank.
“We’ve only done it one day so far because of the holiday,” he said. “We haven’t had any ridership, but we have used it as an opportunity to hand out fliers and leave information at businesses to give people the idea that it’s starting up.”
In addition to the route at those stops, residents of the area can also contact PICCA at 740-474-8835 to schedule a pickup at their home or another location. Once picked up, the bus will return to the route as normal.
Franklin Christman, village administrator of Ashville, said he thinks the route is a great thing for the village since economics aren’t the only reason people sometimes don’t go out.
“It is a good way for those who have difficulty with transportation to get to the store or the bank or the library,” he said. “Since it’s a scheduled bus route with flexibility, it’s very helpful to the residents in Ashville and South Bloomfield. It also allows us to connect with our sister city to the west. I think it’s a very positive thing.”
Bruce Rickerd said he’s optimistic that it will grow into a five-day program.
“It will be nice in the winter time,” he said. “Those in senior housing that go trouncing through the snow, now they can get to the necessities they need to get to without having to walk through the snow.”
Herald Chief Photographer Nancy Radcliff contributed to this article.