Transit system is back on track financially, names new director

December 21, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

One year ago this week, Carroll Transit System Inc.'s board of directors was trying to decide whether to close the financially troubled agency.

Yesterday, the directors were discussing expanded service to south Carroll County and announcing a new executive director.

The new executive director will be James O. Mathis of Sykesville, a former board member of the agency, Board President Peggie Roland told county commissioners at a joint quarterly meeting yesterday at Bullock's Airport Inn.

Carroll Transit is a private, nonprofit agency that has a contract with the county to provide public transportation. The agency also has contracts with schools and agencies, such as the Carroll County Health Department, to transport people for medical appointments.

Mr. Mathis joined the board 18 months ago as a volunteer, but resigned after he applied for the job with the agency, he said. He was hired by the board last week in a closed meeting, Mrs. Roland said.

Mr. Mathis will retire Feb. 15 after 25 years with Bell Atlantic Corp. in Baltimore. He is director of real estate leasing and planning.

He said he looks forward to building on the success the agency has had this year.

Ridership in south Carroll, especially Sykesville, has increased significantly, said Linda Boyer, who remains executive director of Carroll Transit until mid-February.

"In Sykesville, we're not sure exactly what's happened," she said. "I think it's just finally caught on."

In Sykesville, ridership went from an average of 300 a month to 890 in October. Taneytown and Westminster also had similar increases.

Ridership throughout the county has increased, Mrs. Boyer said, although some "bumps" are seasonal, such as an increase in early fall and a decrease in late winter.

County commissioners and county staff said they would look into a state grant to offer a fixed route for the south Carroll area that also would make regular trips to Westminster.

The south Carroll fixed route, recommended by the Carroll Transit board, would be a "deviated" one, which means vans would still make some doorstep trips for people who can't make it to the bus stops.

"I'm glad we're looking forward to this deviated fixed route system if someone can find the money," Mr. Mathis said.

Tim Hartman, county auditor, said he would work with Carroll Transit staff to amend a transportation grant request to the state to include money for a deviated fixed route in south Carroll.

Mrs. Boyer of Mount Airy will resign by Feb. 15 to run for a seat as a commissioner in Frederick County. She took the Carroll Transit job in 1991 on an interim basis. Board members have credited her with saving the agency from financial problems that threatened to overwhelm it a year ago.

This month, Mrs. Boyer reported that the agency should finish the fiscal year in June with a $15,000 surplus. She said the turnaround resulted from a combination of $60,000 in community donations, more contracts with area agencies, cooperation from county staff and commissioners, and improved cash flow through a new state payment system.

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