MOTA’s Kwik-Trips fares to change Jan. 1

BIG RAPIDS — Beginning Jan. 1, the Mecosta Osceola Transit Authority’s Kwik Trips riders will see their fares double, aligning them with service’s regular rates.

MOTA’s Board of Directors approved the recommendation by Executive Director Mike Tillman during its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, and the fare change will be in place for a six-month trial period.

The Kwik Trip program is for residents living near the City of Big Rapids, primarily in Big Rapids, Green, Colfax and Mecosta townships, but also including Austin and Grant townships, providing a service to transport riders to their destinations within one hour.

The fares for Kwik Trips — $1.25 for youth, disabled adults and senior citizens and $2.50 for adults — need to rise to make the program more financially sound, Tillman told members.

“My belief is that with the change, it will still be in the hole, but not nearly as much if something is not done,” he said, he has received calls about the the possible changes coming to the fares. “The need is there, it’s the financial reality. Option A is to adjust the rates so the program is more self-sufficient, or Option B, it’s going away.”

The trial period will run for six months, and Tillman said the board will then be able to see if there is any improvement.

“People like the programs and the community is concerned with costs,” he added. “I am too.”

Tillman also told board members at the meeting about an ongoing issue with the accounting program, Sage 50, that began at when the fiscal year began. The program has changed to a yearly model, rather than a month-by-month format, presenting challenges for the monthly numbers, the executive director said. Technical support from the provider did not allot enough time to fix it, but Tillman said work will continue to get the program to work correctly.

In other action from Thursday’s meeting, the board welcomed new at-large member Brenda Lambrix, of Morley. Lambrix fills the vacancy on the board left when Tillman was hired in October as executive director.

Members also were given committee assignments:

n Jill Halladay and Dave Johns will serve on the finance committee;

n Mary Vogt and Sally Andrews are on the building and grounds committee; and

n Ray Steinke and Lambrix represent the board of directors on the personnel committee.

The next MOTA Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at its building, located at 18710 16 Mile Road, in Big Rapids.

More information about Kwik Trips and MOTA can be found motaonline.net/home.php.