County Considering Taxi Vouchers

With the cost of Pace Dial-a-Ride transportation about $15 a ride, the McHenry County Transportation Committee is going to discuss providing vouchers to people.

McDOT staff will be ready to discuss the possibilities at the Committee’s meeting at the 8:15 AM meeting at 16111 Nelson Road, Woodstock (across from the Valley Hi Nursing Home).

The following memo is on the agenda:

When someone uses the term “taxi voucher program” many different uses are plausible. In order to structure the discussion, it would be beneficial to get a consensus as to what is the purpose of taxi vouchers. The following questions are offered for discussion and provide direction to staff. Is it…

  1. To provide transportation services in the existing MCRide service area outside the standard current operating hours of MCRide (6 AM to 7 PM Monday-Friday and 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays)?
  2. To supplement transportation services in the existing MCRide service area during the standard current operating hours of MCRide (6 AM to 7 PM Monday-Friday and 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays) to users who find the MCRide program is too restrictive for their needs?
  3. To reduce the need for Pace buses to serve the existing needs of the current MCRide program?
  4. To offer a way to expand the MCRide program beyond the boundaries of the current partner units of government?
  5. To offer an opportunity for residents to travel to points outside of McHenry County not currently served by MCRide?

Staff can describe the types of existing taxi voucher programs in other communities and provide some background on the capabilities of the County’s current taxi providers to help Committee members give staff a direction of where their research efforts need to be focused.


County Considering Taxi Vouchers — 10 Comments

  1. That they would even consider an alternative is a start.

    But I notice that four of the five items on the agenda are about expanding service, not cutting costs.

    And even #3 (“To reduce the need for Pace buses to serve the existing needs”) is not explicitly about saving taxpayers’ money.

  2. The McRide is a burden to the taxpayers. It’s just more tax oppression.

  3. Why not dump all the buses and support an all voucher program administered by Townships?

    You know, those units of government responsible for General Assistance.

    Anyone else fed up with seeing MT buses burning your tax dollars with needless fuel consumption?

    I suggest Townships because I ‘feel’ they actually do verify the right to a benefit.

    I cannot say the same for the McHenry County Housing Authority and McHenry County Health Dept. which administer other welfare type programs in the County.

  4. I also think “Questioning on” has a good idea.

    I think the service should be means tested, and that’s one thing the townships do because they offer General Assistance.

    Also, from looking at McRide’s stats, my guess is they have around 250 people who use the service extensively (i.e., to get to and from work five days a week, or go to the store once or twice a week), plus a number of people who use the service very occasionally.

    Someone who uses the service to get to and from work five days a week fifty weeks a year would be taking 500 trips a year.

    At $15.00 subsidy per trip, that’ $7,500 for such individuals!

    Good grief!

    For that much money, McRide could buy them each a car plus insurance plus gasoline and have money left over!

  5. $15.00 is too much and personally I don’t think anyone over 70 should pay for anything.

    They paid their dues.

  6. Many of the people who take MCRide probaby can’t drive themselves.

    There are wheelchairs lifts and such on the buses.

    Salaries, benefits, union contracts, bus maintenance, people who maintain buses are probably union, etc.

    The main transit union is Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

  7. Also Crystal Lake Mayor Shepley is on the PACE Board of Directors as the McHenry County Representative for PACE.

    PACE headquarters is 550 West Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, IL.

    The next PACE Board meeting is March 11, 2015 at 4PM.

    Also note, “In 2005, Governor Blagojevich signed House Bill 1663 designating PACE as the region’s sole provider of ADA services in the City of Chicago and surrounding six counties.”
    – page 3 (page 8 of pdf), PACE Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the year ended December 31, 2005.

    The six counties referred to above are Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will.

    Also note the following from this year.

    McHenry County Board Resolution 3712

    15.2.K.1 Resolution Authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement Between the County of McHenry and Pace Suburban Bus for MCRide Dial-A-Ride Transit Services in 2015

    Here’s a summary of the meeting.

    Meeting History
    Jan 21, 2015 8:15 AM – Transportation Committee – Public Meeting

    For consideration was an intergovernmental agreement between McHenry County and Pace, the Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), for FY 2015.

    MCRide is a coordinated dial-a-ride transit program currently funded by Pace, McHenry County, the cities of Crystal Lake, McHenry and Woodstock, the Village of Lakewood, the townships of Dorr, Greenwood and Nunda Township, a McHenry County Senior Services Grant, and a Section 5310 Federal grant.

    The MCRide program has enabled intercommunity travel throughout the partner municipalities and townships, and has created a uniform fare structure and trip reservation process.

    In an effort to further coordinate transit services in McHenry County, additional municipal and township partners are planned to be added to the MCRide service in 2015.

    These new partners include the cities of Harvard and Marengo, the villages of Huntley, Johnsburg and Ringwood, and the townships of Grafton and Marengo.

    Further coordination of transit services is consistent with recommendations made in the McHenry County 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan and the McHenry County Strategic Plan.

    As the MCRide program has expanded to include additional partnering county agencies, the program has become more efficient.

    Since the MCRide program began in February of 2012, the cost per trip has been reduced from almost $18.00 per trip to roughly $15.00 per trip.

    During this same time, the ridership has grown from approximately 7,000 to 8,900 per month.

    Each month, the County will be invoiced by Pace for MCRide services.

    The municipalities and townships will be required to pay monthly invoices.

    Monthly payments will be made to Pace based on the hours of service provided, less Pace subsidy of forty-nine and seven tenths of one percent (49.7%) of the project operating deficit, not to exceed $1,195,150.00 annually.

    The RTA and County Senior Grant Commission will be responsible for reimbursements.

    A motion to amend the agreement to include the State’s Attorney Office (SAO) recommendations before presentation to the full County Board was made by Mr. Koehler and seconded by Ms. Hill.

    A voice vote was taken for approval, with all members present voting “aye”; motion carried.

    A roll call vote was taken for approval of the original motion as amended.

    MOVER: Kenneth Koehler
    SECONDER: Tina Hill
    AYES: Anna May Miller, Tina Hill, Kenneth Koehler, Donald C Kopsell, Nick Provenzano
    NAYS: Diane Evertsen
    ABSENT: John Hammerand

    There’s more details and two attachments at that link.

  8. I’ll be tuned into this also.

    Finding a way to save $ and not use an inefficient bus for individuals is a great start.

    I’m curious how many people really use this everyday.

    Seniors or the disabled using this to visit the store or doctor is one thing, but daily able body commuters is very different.

  9. There is an unwarranted presumption of funding availability for all social programs, education, government, conservation and public safety, and roads.

    Government bodies are working from an assumption that the current taxation rate is sustainable, and are raising levies ever higher from that rate.

    But at some property tax rate, there is incentive for destruction of a community.

    If a community is destroyed, how much more will surviving communities be willing to bear in rising tax burdens to fund all desired social service programs?

    In Woodstock IL, property tax rate is 4%.

    Two thirds of housing units were built before 1990 (25 years or older).

    40% of housing units are vacant or rented (not owner-occupied).

    Investment property purchased at $127,000 (median home value, sinking as the national median home value recovered) can earn a 4% return for investor if rented out at $1000 per month, and the average 1-bedroom rent is around that number. (Woodstock rent prices are significantly higher than national average).

    Landlords have no incentive to keep properties up.

    As houses deteriorate it is more advantageous for investor-owners to allow deterioration and finally ‘plow homes under’, retaining ownership of lower-taxed vacant lots.

    As homes drop off the tax rolls, tax burden increases for remaining (surviving) property taxpayers.

    Add the tax burden created by tifs and enterprise zones, and you have a community with zero incentive to build or preserve TAXPAYING housing units (or taxpaying businesses).

    You may have a community with its major industry being ‘social service provision’.

    That is, the income of the community is derived primarily from public employment/non-profit(non-taxpaying)/government contract income.

    Is that sustainable, without bring in ‘outside’ money?

    As we know, State funded programs are running on fumes; can Federal programs continue to subsidize local social service provision?

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