Green Cab expands to Marietta - Advocates say it will change the lives of people with disabilities
MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) - As of this week, Marietta now has alternative transportation. Advocates have been pushing for this development for over a year.
WTAP spoke with advocates about how Green Cab will change the lives of Marietta locals with disabilities.
Before Green Cab, transportation was a struggle for wheel-chair-users Donna Balachowski and Billie Wilson.
Sometimes they had to use their wheelchairs on the side of the road. Sometimes in the middle of winter.
Balachowski recalled the experience, “Catching colds. Being cold.”
Wilson added, “Umbrellas, freezing to death, and making sure that a car doesn’t hit us.”
Before Green Cab, public transportation did exist in Marietta but it didn’t run later in the day and Balachowski and Wilson said it wasn’t enough for people with disabilities.
“We’d have to call a day or so before to be able to get a ride for a specific day...,” Balachowski said.
She explained that sometimes things came up - like sickness, a death in the family, etc. - and she’d have to cancel. However, after a certain number of cancellations, her access to public transport would be suspended.
Now, both Balachowski and Wilson don’t have to worry about that.
“It’s a freedom I have not had since 2005,” Wilson said.
How it works is, you call Green Cab from anywhere in Marietta, they come pick you up, and drop you off wherever you want in the city. All rides are $3 per person.
“People no longer have to stay at home in their houses feeling depressed, especially in the winter time. They can get out and go places and do things…,” Balachowski said.
Lisa Bouchard was another local behind the push to get more accessible transportation for people with disabilities in Marietta. Her research played a big role in getting in touch with Green Cab. She was originally inspired to take action after talking to Balachowski and hearing about her struggles with public transportation.
It wasn’t just Balachowski’s story that moved her. It was the fact that it could become her story when she gets older.
“I saw my future. And that’s not going to happen to me. I was definitely not going to let that happen to me,” she said.
Advocates say city councilman Geoff Schenkel was their go-to city government contact for the cause.
Balachowski said her heart was pumping out of her chest with excitement when she was told Green Cab was coming to Marietta.
Wilson is equally overjoyed.
She said, “I can’t stop smiling. I think my face might crack but it’ll be okay.”
Ari Gold, another advocate who’s been pushing for the cause, hopes that this is just the beginning.
“Because we need a solution to be 24/7. We need a solution to provide transportation between cities as well. This is a very good start,” he said.
You can call Green Cab at 740-59-GREEN.
It runs from 4pm to 3am Monday through Saturday and 8am to 3pm on Sundays.
The service is not limited to only people with disabilities.
Gold’s restaurant TLV is one of the local restaurants involved, giving anyone who uses Green Cab to get to his restaurant a discount.
Mayor Schlicher said the program is funded by ARPA money. The city has the cost covered for six months but will need to find additional funding for it to continue after that. He said those six months are costing about $123,000.
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