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The Future of Public Transit

A SARTA employee fueling a new bus.

At SARTA, we’ve spent the past year observing our 25th birthday. During our “SARTAversary” we spent hundreds of hours and traveled thousands of miles to talk to and thank the thousands of people who travel with us each week, community leaders, and the general public for supporting us since the first passenger took the first trip on December 1, 1997. Sine then, millions more have climbed aboard, taken a seat, and enjoyed the ride. And here’s something we’re really proud of: riding doesn’t cost much more today than it did back then.

As our Silver SARTAversary celebration draws to a close, we want to shift gears and focus on the road ahead and the exciting projects we’re undertaking as we begin the next quarter century of providing the safe, affordable, convenient, and reliable service that has made SARTA one of our community’s most trusted and valued assets.

So, take a moment to take a journey with us into the future of public transit–a future that will make using SARTA to travel to and from thousands of destinations in Stark County and beyond easier and more enjoyable than ever before and enhance the quality of life in our region, our state, and our nation.  

Let’s start our trip with a look at the state-of-the-art transit technology that is improving our user experience today and will make it even better tomorrow—beginning with exciting new ways to pay our low, low fares. We were among the first systems in the nation to offer the EZfare mobile ticketing app and full implementation of SARTA’s SCORE card fare payment system is near the goal line. Both use “tap and go” validators that make riding as smooth and seamless as a newly paved road.

While we’re talking EZ, we must mention EZConnect, the innovative project that will provide one-call/one-click centralized reservation, ride scheduling, dispatch, and customer relations services for transit systems across the state from an ultra-modern call center located at SARTA’s Gateway Boulevard facility. 

And there’s more to come, including a new, tech-driven point-to-point on demand service powered by VIA that will be like Uber only better because it will be operated by the transit experts Stark County residents know and trust: SARTA.

The future is equally bright for the award-winning sustainability programs that have removed thousands of tons of dangerous emissions from the region’s air over the past decade. In addition to constantly expanding its fleet of zero emission vehicles, the system and its visionary CEO Kirt Conrad are playing a lead role in the effort to convince the U.S. Department of Energy to cite a clean hydrogen hub in a four-state region that includes Ohio. Along with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, the hub will attract billions in private investment, spur clean energy R&D, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and ensure that Stark County benefits from the hydrogen-powered economy of the 21st Century. 

We have much, much more in store for the years ahead—more than this space can accommodate. To keep up with everything SARTA, we invite you to add to your favorites bar and visit us often on the web—it will be well worth the trip.

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