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RTA Thanks Riders With ‘Pay What You Want’ Fares; Board to meet Tuesday

A trolley bus parked at RTA headquarters in Dayton.
Pat O'Malley, RTA

As RTA drivers and mechanics prepare to return to work Friday, the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is offering riders a “pay what you want” fare through the end of the month.

The agency says the deal is intended to thank displaced riders for their patience during the RTAs nearly week-long strike, which officially ended early Wednesday.

The RTA board of trustees is expected to meet Tuesday to ratify a new contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1385.

The walkout by around 450 RTA mechanics and bus drivers left thousands of commuters across the Miami Valley with no bus service to work or school.

RTA officials say they are working to resume full bus service, along with all Project Mobility Services, with regular schedules by Friday.

In a press release, the RTA says proceeds collected in fare boxes throughout January will be donated to the organization Foodbank Dayton:

"The RTA understands the shutdown while the Amalgamated Transit Unit Local 1385 went on strike caused a disruption in the lives of many of our customers. We hope the gesture of this period of rides through the end of January can move people into the future and at the same time give back to those in need of help in our community through donations to The Foodbank."

John LeBlanc, management professor at Cedarville University, says strikes like the one by RTA members can be difficult on communities.

“This not only impacts union membership, which they’re losing money, RTA is losing money. The Dayton economy is losing. People are going to lose their jobs - can’t get to work, can’t get to a school, and I would imagine down the road that this won’t happen again,” he says.

The RTA agreement with the ATU union was announced Wednesday after more than 13 hours of negotiations with the help of a state-appointed mediator.

The meeting Tuesday at  RTA administrative offices in downtown Dayton is open to the public.

For more information about the strike, the meeting and how to ride transit in January, visit http://www.i-riderta.org/

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.
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