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Ringwood latest community to ask for expanded bus service

Published: Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 2:27 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 12:13 a.m. CDT

RINGWOOD – The village of Ringwood is the latest in a series of communities and townships to volunteer for an expanded bus service.

The McHenry County Division of Transportation approached a group of local governments earlier this year to get a head count on which ones would be interested in having the county’s MCRide program serve their residents.

The boards for Harvard, Marengo, Huntley, Johnsburg and Ringwood as well as Grafton and Algonquin townships have approved memorandums of understanding saying they’re interested in participating.

Whether the expansion actually goes through, though, depends on the county’s negotiations with Pace Suburban Bus service, county Transportation Planner Scott Hennings said. A timetable hasn’t been set yet, but Hennings said he expected negotiations to begin shortly.

If the expansion moves forward, residents could expect the service to start sometime in the spring, Ringwood Village President Rick Mack said. The village is working with the county to develop a marketing campaign to raise awareness.

The price tag for Ringwood to participate will be just less than $1,700 a year, or about $2 per resident a year, he said.

The $2 per resident rate is what Woodstock, Crystal Lake and McHenry contribute to the program, Hennings said. The cost for townships would be $6,000 a year.

If the county receives additional grants for the program, the costs for municipalities might be reduced.

The MCRide dial-a-ride service is one of the most “low-cost services” the village of Ringwood can provide to its residents, Mack said, adding that about a third of MCRide users are disabled and another third are seniors.

“McHenry County and Pace have done a good job of developing a program that residents can take advantage of,” he said. “It’s very difficult in rural areas to have an effective bus program, and I think they have worked very hard to have a model that will work. The proof of that is in how many communities are signing up.”

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