Getting from Here to There, Literally

The single transportation system in Starke County, Arrowhead County Public Transit Service, is housed by Community Services of Starke County. The system will travel anywhere in Indiana if the schedule permits. Set routes are not utilized; riders must call the dispatcher to schedule a ride, and 24-hour advance notice is requested. Return rides home must also be scheduled. The transportation system hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The department will give rides for medical appointments, shopping, personal errands, preschool, and more. Shuttle services are not permitted. Vans are ADA compliant, and lift equipment is available.

Public input meetings have reflected residents’ desire for a more flexible scheduling system and more of a taxi or Uber-like service in Starke County (rides on demand). Many have found that due to the limited hours, residents can use the transportation system to get to work but then have no ride back home, especially when working later shifts.

While the current system is open to all residents, it is generally utilized by senior citizens and those in financial need. A public transportation system with extended hours is desired that would be more generally used by all demographics. It has also been expressed that increased transportation services would assist with the community’s efforts to attract younger residents and enhance its night life.

In the fall of 2019, the Northern Indiana Community Foundation held a Transportation Summit with the transportation systems, school corporations, and other stakeholders in Starke, Fulton, and Miami Counties. The purpose of the summit was to learn about the services currently offered, challenges faced, and the additional transportation needs in the communities that are currently not met. It was found that the three counties, which are all rural northwest Indiana counties, face very similar changes.

The transportation system in Starke County is funded by INDOT and KIRPC. Lack of additional resources is a major inhibitor of expansion.

Starke County is seeking innovative solutions to its transportation needs.

Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns: