L to R: Melinda Gabelman, Advocate and Aimee Rittner, OVGI Supervisor
In partnership with several other human service organizations, Ohio Valley Goodwill presented testimony to Cincinnati City Council opposing proposed fare increases for public transportation at a public hearing on the evening of November 18th. Goodwill representatives provided Council members with compelling evidence that imposing increases of more than 167% in some cases, would unfairly punish those citizens least able to afford the hikes.
Goodwill supervisor, Aimee Rittner, along with advocate, Melinda Gabelman explained to Council members and Mayor Mallory that Goodwill’s mission is to help people with disabilities to become productive, contributing, involved members of their community and approving exorbitant fare increases only creates overwhelming obstacles to that goal.
Thanks to the advocacy efforts of Goodwill and the other partner organizations in attendance, City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that removed the original proposed rate hikes for Access; a specialized transportation service for individuals with disabilities. In addition, City Council voted not to impose service reductions, which was part of the original recommendation. Council did approve rate increases for the regular Metro service and corresponding 12% service reductions, which will impact all transit riders but not the sweeping rate hikes which would have led to imminent job losses for many individuals.
In Melinda’s poignant remarks made to Council, she stated “I just want the chance to go to work every day like everybody else.” Ohio Valley Goodwill commends its advocate team and partner agencies for their outstanding efforts on behalf of the disability community.