June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Bus pooling: County transit looks to merge with Brunswick service

The Medina County Public Transit director wants the agency to merge with Brunswick Transit Alternative next year.

“Brunswick is part of Medina County, so why wouldn’t it be a part of the countywide system?” Medina County Public Transit Director Mike Salamone said. “It just makes more sense.”

Brunswick Transit Alternative has two fixed routes, a north and a south, with four buses.

“How it would work is they would sell us three of their buses,” Salamone said.

Salamone proposed the merger at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting. He explained that Medina County has operated the three buses for the Brunswick Transit Alternative system for nearly five years under a contract with the city of Brunswick.

Salamone said the five-year contract expires in December. At that point, Brunswick will have three options.

He said Brunswick could operate its own transit system.

“But that’s probably not going to happen because for the last 20 years they’ve always contracted out,” he said.

Salamone said Brunswick could advertise for an outside operator.

“We would be a bidder if that’s what it came to,” he said.

Salamone said he favors the third option: merge the two transit systems.

“I’m hoping for a merge with Brunswick,” Salamone said. “It should be a financial benefit for both parties.”

He said merging would save time and work in departments such as maintenance and budgeting.

A merger could also lead to the establishment of a county board to run the system rather than the county commissioners, according to Salamone.

“People from across the county would be on the board so most of the cities and townships would be represented,” Salamone said.

Salamone said he’s been discussing a possible merger with Brunswick Transit Alternative Director Pat McNamara since January and that the discussions will continue as a decision must be made by the end of the year.

Salamone said a merger would require the approval of Brunswick City Council.

Contact reporter Katie Anderson at (330) 721-4012 or kanderson@medina-gazette.com.

Katie Anderson About Katie Anderson

Katie Anderson covers Medina County government and the city of Wadsworth. She has been with The Gazette since July 2014. Contact her at (330) 721-4012 or via email at kanderson@medina-gazette.com.