MANSFIELD — Richland County Transit is now looking for an expert to help show them the best road forward for public transit.

The RCT board has issued a 36-page request for proposals to help local officials develop a 10-year transit development plan.

“The successful offeror will be required to define public transit needs in Richland County and the region; solicit board input and public participation; explore community goals; and develop systematic plans that improve public transportation in Richland County and moves RCTB toward a clear vision,” the proposal states.

RCTB request for proposals

The RCT board will accept proposals until June 28 at 1 p.m. A contract will be awarded based on competitive bids, according to Jean Taddie transit development manager for the Richland County Regional Planning Commission.

The Ohio Department of Transportation awarded $165,779 through the Ohio Transit Partnership Program to fund RCT’s planning efforts.

Improving public transit was one of the topics identified during Richland Source “Talk the Vote” sessions in the fall of 2021 that was further identified in the Citizens Agenda presented to local leaders and the public in January.

In December, Taddie told board members the planning process could take up to 14 months and deliver a plan with a 10-year window for implementation.

“We want it to be sustainable. We don’t want to put things out there that will only last for a year or two,” Taddie said at the time.

In the RFP, the board said it will consider the following qualifications:

— experienced working on transit development plans for similar transit agencies.

— a satisfactory record of past performance.

— qualified and eligible to receive the contract under applicable laws and regulations.

The RCT transit development plan goals include:

— identifying the best structures, services and technologies to sustainably increase RCT’s ridership, efficiency and quality.

— positioning the board to evolve and respond to 21st Century needs.

— assessing RCTB’s governance, organizational structure and mission, and develop a clear vision for the future.

— initiating regional collaborative planning, especially to facilitate efficient workforce and medical transportation across county lines.

The local transit board plans to follow a plan review process that culminates with the awarding of the contract by July 31 and the beginning of services on Aug. 1.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when...

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