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Steve Kocher of Henry is one of the drivers for MSW Projects, the public transportation service for Marshall and Stark counties. Earlier this month, the Marshall County Board voted in favor of becoming the county in charge of the transportation service. Stark County had decided it would no longer oversee the service. NewsTribune photo/Shannon Crawley-Serpette
HENRY — With recent changes in the administration of the Marshall and Stark county public transportation service, MSW Projects, the transportation service is assuring patrons that the program will remain the same.
Earlier this month, Marshall County Board voted in favor of serving as the grantee for the public transportation program — a role that always had been held by Stark County. After Stark County decided it no longer wanted to oversee the service, Marshall County stepped up.
“Gary (Kroeschen, Marshall County board chairman) and I both feel very strongly about keeping this program going,” Travis McGlasson, vice president of Marshall County Board said earlier this month. “If it has be in Marshall County, we’re okay with this route.”
Debbie Daykin, director of MSW Projects, said the change in administration makes sense.
“Stark County did have a point. They’ve been doing it since 1985,” she said. “They are the smaller of the two counties.”
The program does not cost either county any money, according to Daykin, who says it is funded through grant money and the fees and donations it receives from those who use the service. MSW Projects also maintains a senior nutrition program.
“We are more like a social service public transportation. We do serve a small area. We get to know our clients fairly well,” she said. “We are door-to-door instead of curb to curb.”
Need a ride? To use the service, call (309) 364-2287 and request the date and time for a ride — transportation is only provided 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Checking MSW’s schedule before making a doctor’s appointment is a good idea; the service is sometimes booked well in advance.
“Right now we are pretty much booked up for this entire week and halfway into the next,” Daykin said. “Our people that we serve, once they get into the groove of things, know to check (our availability).”
Van trips cost $10 per person and run to Bloomington, Peru, Ottawa, Pontiac and Peoria for Marshall County residents and Peoria and Galesburg for Stark County residents. The scheduled ride to Kewanee costs $6.
For individual transports, round-trip local rides cost $3. Round trip in-county rides are $5. Going county to county costs $6, and transports that farther than 15 miles cost $15.
“If you are a senior, then you get to ride for a donation. We don’t set a donation amount,” Daykin said.
Typically in a year, more than 100 different individuals are served. Some people use the service multiple times a week, while others might use it once a month.
“We’re seeing an influx more now of the under 60 (population),” Daykin said. “Some of our clients have no other forms of transportation. Some have no family to rely on.”
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