Lake County’s public transportation system, Laketran, launched a transit service along the county’s largest manufacturing corridor in an effort to spur workforce development between Cleveland job seekers and employers in Lake County, according to a news release.
“Typical commuter Park-n-Ride service is only productive in one direction, but as downtown Cleveland increases in population it becomes more and more important for suburban employers to have access to that labor pool,” shared Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “I hope that what we’ve done with our Park-n-Ride service opens new opportunities to our local employers and job seekers in Cleveland.”
On a daily basis, Laketran transports 700 commuters between Lake County and their downtown Cleveland jobs. The regional transit system has seen residents in Cleveland and those as far west as Middleburg Heights, using the Park-n-Ride service to commute eastbound into Lake County.
The new service started Jan. 28 and provides six morning and afternoon trips that best serve first-shift workers.
Tyler Boulevard, a major arterial connecting 10 industrial boulevards lined with 300 employers and 7,500 jobs in Mentor, is the seventh-largest concentration of manufacturing companies in the state, according to the news release.
Laketran worked with the City of Mentor to survey local manufacturers and staffing agencies to see where transportation is most needed.
“The routes will use Tyler Boulevard as they travel to and from Cleveland. We were able to change the times outside the main service, so it will not affect our existing customers, but it will allow job seekers in Cleveland to catch a Laketran bus in Cleveland with a direct trip to Tyler Boulevard,” said Capelle. “Lake County residents will be able to transfer from our route buses along state route 306 to access the new service.”
Through this new transit service, Laketran added additional bus stops to two Park-n-Ride routes when traveling to and from Cleveland.
Capelle admits it's not a perfect solution, but it's a change in service that will have very little impact on Laketran's budget.
"The best option is traditional fixed route service, but unfortunately with the significant revenue cuts from the state and the overwhelming growth of our Dial-a-Ride service, we cannot afford to operate a true fixed route with hourly service,” said Capelle.
The addition of the transit service in a manufacturing hub will allow employers to find the workers they need to fill jobs.
“This is a good step in the right direction as we continue to find ways to resolve one of the primary obstacles facing our business community; the need to recruit qualified employees,” shared Mentor city manager Kenneth J. Filipiak.