1 You've been with Community Transportation Network from its beginning – and had a big role in starting the service. What is its history?
CTN was created in 2000 by a task force of local organizations and foundations to address transportation barriers faced by those they served. The individuals affected included seniors, people with disabilities, low-income families, children and youth. Those organizations assisting any of these groups were struggling with transportation options to increase their effectiveness reaching their participants.
Since then, CTN has grown to become a more effective transportation alternative for the nonprofit sector providing service to agency services, health care, recreation, shopping, educational field trips, employment, etc. Over 70 organizations partner in some fashion to address transportation issues, and we keep trying to expand our capacity with generous support from this community.
2 How is CTN different from Citilink? Whom do you serve and how many trips do you make?
CTN is a unique model of a private nonprofit provider of transportation and is gaining more national recognition for its effectiveness. This fiscal year ending in June, we expect to reach the 100,000 passenger trip mark! With fewer governmental restraints, we can focus our efforts on particular riders, times and locations. A public system cannot play favorites and works within their taxing district.
3 Tell us about your drivers.
CTN's drivers are known as friendly and helpful. They provide door-through-door passenger assistance. They include people with CDL [commercial driver] licenses and more who do not for driving smaller vans. All of them go through background checks and specialized training to prepare them for their duties.
We need more full- and part-time drivers. It is a great, rewarding job for people who have retired and have some time in their schedule. There are some awesome people scheduling and behind the scenes that make each trip a success as well.
4 Your tenure as executive director comes to a close this month – is there one memory of your time at CTN that stands out?
Being a part of CTN's history and its leader for the last 14 years has given me an extraordinary sense of satisfaction.
Building the partnerships has been my favorite part. To examine the scope of the problem, to dig into what would work, find the funding, and extend our existing resources all make a huge impact for those partners and the people we then mutually serve.
5 What's next for CTN – and for you, in retirement?
As I prepare to retire, I will stay involved with this community and have more time for family fun. I still have to figure that all out. Justin Clupper will lead CTN's efforts to expand services to more of a regional level. CTN plays a part in economic development for access to work and for many services offered by Allen County organizations. And CTN still has much to accomplish to eliminate those transportation barriers for over 6,000 people currently riding!