PUBLIC TRANSIT Public Transit in Richland County Richland County had a dynamic history of public transit from the mid-19th century through 1970. Despite a fare increase in 1971 and continuous cutbacks in service, Mansfield Bus Lines was unable to continue to show a profit. Service was discontinued in the summer of 1972.
The Greater Mansfield Area was without public transportation from 1972 to 1977. Recognizing the unfilled need to transit service in this area, the Richland County Regional Planning Commission contracted the services of ATE, a consulting firm, to conduct a study on the need for public transportation in Richland County.
The study concluded that such a need existed, and that substantial local financial commitment was needed to establish a transit system. The study recommended that an existing private operator be subsidized on a short-term basis to get the system started, but that the system should eventually be publicly operated.
The study also detailed the procedures to be followed to reach this goal. The cost of each method of operation(public vs. private contract) is monitored at the end of each contract period and the most efficient is selected, Current federal regulations encourage the use of private contractors.
This study provided the impetus which reinstituted transit service in greater Mansfield. On December 7, 1977, a private operator, Mansfield Area Transit System (MATS), began providing fixed route transit service. On April 18, 1978, the RIchland Couunty Commissioners appointed the Richland County Transit Board (RCTB). On July 20,1978,the RCTB entered into a contract with MATS to provide public transportation in Richland County. The RCTB had full control over routes, fares, and schedules. MATS provided the vehicles, drivers, maintenance, and operation. Until August 1979, there had been no local government money funding the operation; the local share was provided by MATS. In August, MATS declared it could no longer continue to operate under these circumstance. In order to prevent a loss of service, the City of Mansfield and the Villages of Lexington and Ontario agreed to pay the local share of the cost of operation.
RCT Bus Garage, Administration, and Maintenance Facility During the first 12 years of its existence, RCT operated out of an antiquated facility provided by the private contractor. The poor conditions at this facility included outside storage of all vehicles, cramped office condition, and inadequate maintenance area and equipment. All of these conditions were corrected with the construction of the new RCT Bus Garage,Administration, and Maintenance Facility. The facility opened in August 1990. This building, located at the intersection of North Main Street and Sixth Street, continues to serve RCT and provide for clean indoor storage of all vehicles, effective maintenance of the fleet and efficient administration of the RCT system.
The Stanton Center RCT Intermodal Passenger Terminal David R. Stanton served on the Richland County Transit Board from 1983 until his death in 1995, the last ten years as chairman. Mr. Stanton demonstrated, from his wheelchair, that a severe physical disability is no obstacle to accomplishment. As chairman of RCTB he oversaw the building of the RCT bus garage in 1990,the acquisition of a new bus fleet in 1993, and the beginning of a project to construct a new intermodal passenger terminal. It is only fitting that this terminal be named after David R. Stanton.